Forensic Psychologist Reviews Movie Iconic Criminals

published on July 2, 2020

– There is a manipulative
quality, seductive quality,

deceitful quality to this character

It is fascinating

(dynamic music)

Hi, I'm Dr Paula Bruce

I'm a clinical and forensic psychologist

in Beverly Hills, California

I've been in practice for over 20 years

And I'm gonna be talking
today about a bunch of movies

And trying to understand the characters,

trying to understand the
psychology behind the characters,

and hopefully talk about it
in a new and interesting way

– If it was me dying on the sidewalk

you'd walk right over me

– I think there are a
lot of questions about

the Joker character

This portrayal of Joker in this way

Is he crazy?

Is this an example of a
paranoid schizophrenic?

And there's a question about whether

what we're seeing in the film is really

him in a delusional process,

or is it him in fantasy?

What seems much more likely
to me about this character

is that what you're
seeing is as a result of

a complex PTSD, complex
post-traumatic stress disorder

Complex PTSD emerges out
of developmental trauma

Trauma that occurs from early in life,

multiple traumas, repeated traumas,

severe traumas, that happen
over a person's lifetime

One compounding the other

– And treats him like trash!

– Then call the police chief

– I'll tell you what you get
– Call the police

– You get what you (beeps) deserve

(gun banging)

– Yes, of course

– Is Nathan your friend?

– My friend?

I, yeah, I hope so

– A good friend?

– What's happening in this scene

is that he is with the AI robot

that has gotta pass the Turing test

What was fascinating about the
Domhnall Gleeson character,

they don't show it throughout the film,

but you know that he has had probably

a classic internet addiction
kind of behavior, right

So we get to the scene
where the lights go out

In a very seductive way pulls

the Domhnall Gleeson
character closer to her

The lights come back on

and you see the different part of her

where she is playing for
a different audience

So there is a manipulative
quality, seductive quality,

deceitful quality to this character

What does this mean about the Turing test?

It is fascinating that
corrupted, deceptive,

manipulative, seductive
behavior that is the most human

I certainly hope that that's not true

In fact, I really don't believe

in my heart that that's true

– [Joker] I'm just ahead of the curve

– So what follows is this question about

dominance and control

He pummels him, throws
him across the room

He's just violent

Yet, it is really clear
that he holds no advantage

It is his capacity to manipulate,

to coax, to seduce, to humiliate

And all the things that he says to Batman

as Batman pummels him

This is a man, who in this scene,

portrays sort of a classic psychopath

– [Woman] I'm going to jump
and you're coming with me

– No I'm not

– In this scene there's a question about

how do you know if something is real

If I say it's real and
you don't think it's real,

how can one know what's real?

Outside the confines of
this world that they created

she's engaged in a perfectly
rational, reasonable question

of challenging reality and
believing that her reality,

as it is articulated in that moment,

might not be accurate, that
it might be a non-reality

when it appears to be a reality

In the real world a person
that splits from reality

to non-reality is having
a psychotic episode

– [Man] No, don't!

Jesus Christ!

– I never laid a hand on him, goddammit

I didn't

– It's obvious in this scene that

what's happening in
this scene is not real

Now there's a question about

what's happening with this character

Is he schizophrenic?

Is this a hallucination?

Is this is a paranoid schizophrenic?

He really demonstrates some
symptoms consistent with that

But, I wonder if that's the
most accurate diagnosis

I wonder whether this character,

what he's really reflecting is
substance-induced psychosis

A lot of his delusional stuff
starts to happen connected,

like in this particular
scene which is quite pivotal,

around the bar scene, around
party, around merriment

– Coulda happened to anybody

And it was three goddamn years ago!

– So one of the things
that you see with people

who sometimes have
substance abuse problems

is their unwillingness
to own their behavior

When Jack Nicholson is talking about

his relationship with his son,

and the abuse that he inflicted on his son

where his son dislocated his arm,

he blames his son

Well, I didn't do it that hard,

or it was only for a second,

or it's because of what he did

He doesn't take responsibility

And that kind of classic unwillingness

to acknowledge that one is out of control,

to acknowledge that one is causing harm,

is really reflective of someone

that's in the throws of addiction

– There's someone else
in the hotel with us!

There's a crazy woman in one of the rooms!

She tried to strangle Danny!

– Are you out of your (beeps) mind?

– I told you that, he
can't handle reality

My name's Jade, has Dr Fletcher
been getting our emails?

This is what we have to do, we

As in 1008 when Ana de
Paula suffered the shock–

– This scene shows James McAvoy

and his portrayal of a character

that inhabits 24 personalities

What we call now as a
dissociative identity disorder,

which is born out of trauma

So DOD, of course, exists on a spectrum

So you can have very, very, very subtle

moments of dissociation
that people experience

To, I guess, this would be definitely

one of the more significant
severe presentations,

which I have personally never seen

– Everything's fine now

– [Girl] Kevin won't wake up

– Kevin is asleep?

– When Kevin cycles
through his personalities,

he's with Casey, she calls out his name

as a way of activating him, right,

trying to call up that
particular character

And then the idea is that
she's gonna summon him


It doesn't quite work that way

(dynamic music)

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