Joker Director Discusses The Film’s Ambiguous Ending

by Eric Joseph
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With 2019 set to come to a close soon enough, I can’t help reflecting on the amazing comic book movies we were treated to this year. Though it may take more time and perspective for me to decide on a clear favorite between Avengers: Endgame and Joker, the latter is immediately special to me because I’ve been a fan of the titular character since early childhood.

In my view, Joker is more than worthy of its impressive box office tally and award nominations (and possible wins). Most of us can agree on how Todd Phillips did a phenomenal job behind the camera and how Joaquin Phoenix knocked it out of the park onscreen. Plus, there’s the ambiguity of the story itself that still has people talking.

Now that the flick has become available digitally, the subsequent bonus features are also available for consumption. And during the extra titled “Joker: Vision & Fury,” Phillips had this to say about the topical ending:

“There’s many ways to look at the movie. He might not be Joker. This is just a version of a Joker origin. It’s just the version this guy is telling in this room at a mental institution. I don’t know that he’s the most reliable narrator in the world, you know what I’m saying?”

Joker (2019)

Now that this statement is out in the open, many are taking it as validation of the entire movie being a delusion of Arthur Fleck’s. I, however, do not think it’s that simple or straightforward.

If you really examine Phillips’ words, they play on the idea of Joker preferring his history to be multiple choice, a concept with which comic book readers are well acquainted. The Ace of Knaves has become notorious for lying to his psychiatrists in Arkham Asylum across multiple forms of media, and I think this situation is no different.

To put it succinctly, I think it must be considered that the narrative is not a delusion of Arthur Fleck’s, but rather that Arthur Fleck is likely just a possible origin story concocted by the Joker while he’s yanking the chain of yet another person trying to psychoanalyze him.

Joker arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on January 7th, 2020.

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