The Perfect Crime? Anthropology and Liminality in Joker

Wade, Alex (2021) The Perfect Crime? Anthropology and Liminality in Joker. In: Breaking Down Joker: Violence, Loneliness and Tragedy. Routledge Advances in Film Studies . Routledge, London, pp. 146-157. ISBN 9780367774240

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Initial scholarly responses to Joker position the film as ambivalent, ambiguous and occupying a liminal space in cinema which informs views on contemporary western society. Using liminality and its departure point, this chapter explores how Fleck’s existence in the ‘non-places’ of Gotham, lead to him being placed in increasingly dangerous situations which give rise to transformative, evil effects on him and those around him. This is especially the case with kith and kin who are pitched as analogous to him, if not in race and colour, then fortune and future. Although provided with support by others at the outset of the film, a series of experiences, both providential and of his own making, places Fleck himself in increasingly liminal spaces and times, embedded in indifferent, amoral relationships and embodied in hyperactive movements through an unforgiving cityscape. Ultimately, Fleck’s transformation to the Joker takes place in the television studio, the most liminal space of all. Here, the conflation between magic and technology leads to the performance of the perfect crime where the audience themselves are complicit in the construction of evil that infuses every level of the ambiguous, ambivalent ‘advanced’ societies of the west.

Item Type: Book Section
Identification Number:
31 December 2021Published
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-04 - anthropology
CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-06 - cultural studies
CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE)
Depositing User: Alex Wade
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2022 09:28
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2023 03:00

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