15 years after the release of The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger’s performance remains etched in memory as one of the best interpretations of the Joker and more generally of an antihero. A success deciphered by psychiatrist Eric Bender reveals why the Joker is so terrifying.
Heath Ledger, forever the best Joker?
The Joker is definitely one of the most beloved antiheroes in cinematic history. It must be said that the character imagined by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and Bob Kane intrigues by its complexity. Perhaps it is his insane psychosis that attracts us, or his macabre sense of humor. Dangerous, unpredictable, cunning… the Joker fascinates spectators.
Playing such a deranged and cruel being on screen is no small feat. But let’s be honest, the Batman trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan definitely wouldn’t taste the same without Heath Ledger, who knew how to bring the Joker to life with devastating intensity. A remarkable performance that a psychiatrist took care to analyze, and here is what he reveals.
A psychiatrist analyzes the performance of the actor
In The Dark Knight, The Joker is considered an alienated character, suffering from mental problems. This is also what explains his many stays in the psychiatric asylum of the city of Arkham. However, according to psychiatrist Eric Bender, Ledger’s Joker should not be taken to an asylum but simply to prison.
Asked by QG, Dr. Bender claims that Ledger’s Joker is a psychopath and probably has a personality disorder. However, this does not make him mentally ill, in the clinical sense of the term. Indeed, the psychiatrist highlights the Joker’s mental clarity and awareness of his actions, making him all the more terrifying. A major difference which, according to the specialist, should bring the character behind bars… in a prison and not in an asylum:
This is a person who seemed to me not to have a mental illness. Yes, something is wrong with him… He is an agent of chaos. I’m wondering about antisocial personality disorder… In this case, he certainly meets the criteria for antisocial personality disorder, and I think he’s a psychopath. Not everyone with antisocial personality disorder is a psychopath, but in this case I think he is. He knows what he’s doing, so not only does he not have mental illness, he also knows what he’s doing, knows what he’s doing is wrong.
An analysis that you can find in its entirety in the video below:
Even if the Joker embodied by the actor who tragically died at the age of 28 does not necessarily have a place in a psychiatric asylum, the Joker of Joaquin Phoenix shows, meanwhile, much less control in his actions and seems to act more by impulses. Is this going to be an aspect explored in Joker: Madness for two ? The film is expected in theaters at the end of 2024.