Why did the Joker get the money?
January 30, 2009 9:31 AM   Subscribe

The Dark Knight filter: spoiler inside.

Why was the Joker given half the mob's money in The Dark Knight?

I've seen this movie a couple of times now, and one question's been bugging me - why is the Joker given half the mob's money? The scene early in the movie at the meeting with the mob bosses makes it pretty clear that the Joker is supposed to kill Batman in order to get the money. Yet, immediately prior to the Joker standing with the pile of money we hear him on TV saying that he didn't want to kill Batman and tried to get others to kill Coleman Reese to prevent him from revealing Batman's identity.

So what gives? My best theory is that he just took half after getting the location of the money from Lao after he sprung him from jail. But immediately prior to the burning the of the money, one of the mob bosses seems to congratulate him, making it seem like he'd earned his half. Explanations, anyone?
posted by sherlockt to Media & Arts (15 answers total)

I thought that the big pile of money was the money that he robbed from the bank at the beginning. And the mob was coming to get it back.
posted by lilkeith07 at 9:45 AM on January 30, 2009

That was his price for killing batman.

Check out the "group therapy session" scene where he "negotiates" this... then, as they're sitting in the restaurant, (I believe, right before being arrested, but I'd have to go back and check) the Chechen says something to the effect of "Okay, let's hire him. We should've done that"... that's when the Joker starts killing people for-the-express-purpose of getting Batman to unmask.
posted by Seeba at 9:46 AM on January 30, 2009

The only person who knew where the money was was Lau. Lau was caught by the police. The Joker "breaks into" the police station. Then he blows it up. This gives him access to Lau. It's been established that Lau's a squealer, so it becomes clear that The Joker got Lau to tell him where the money was.
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:53 AM on January 30, 2009

BobbyVan: "...Not everyone has seen The Dark Knight..."


In all seriousness, Lao was the one who knew where the mob's money was. Joker kidnaps him, finds money, takes "his" half, bam. Scene.
posted by internet!Hannah at 9:55 AM on January 30, 2009

Yeah, partly it's just that he happens to have all the money because he found the guy who had it all, but he can also rightfully keep his half because he had said "I want half" and eventually they agreed.
posted by creasy boy at 9:57 AM on January 30, 2009

Here is a link with some discussion about this plot hole. The post itself isn't useful but read the comments. They address this exact question.
posted by internet!Hannah at 10:04 AM on January 30, 2009

Why anything in that movie? The script had holes you could drive a truck through.
posted by jon_kill at 10:11 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]

Mod note: Spoiler alert added. Carry on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:32 AM on January 30, 2009

I had the feeling the treatment of the movie had blanks left in it for "[and then a bunch of complicated money stuff happens to get us to the next plot point in Hong Kong, but we can write this later]."
posted by Kirklander at 10:34 AM on January 30, 2009

Best answer: He isn't given half the mob's money.

He gets the location of the money out of Lau, and goes there with his few nutcases to pile it up all purty.

The mobsters get there and congratulate the Joker on getting their money back, because they like money.

Then the Joker sets fire to the money. The bit about "his half" is just him quipping -- I'm only setting fire to "my half" of the money, but it's all going to burn.

I'd have to go watch it again, but isn't it only after this, and his little speech to Black Mobster Guy about hungry dogs or whatever, that he starts killing the mobsters too?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:46 AM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]

Was he promised half the money for killing Batman or getting the money back from Lau?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:11 AM on January 30, 2009

ROU_Xenophobe's answer is the way I remember interpreting it while watching the first time. I haven't seen it again recently, but it makes sense unless I missed something.

all of you who are bitching about plot holes are not really answering the question.
posted by Chris4d at 11:32 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think you're misreading that scene. It isn't "Mobsters show up and give Joker half their money, which he burns, and they all sing Kumbayah together because they'd agreed that was their price."

It's "Mobsters show up to get their money -- not some of their money, not half their money, Joker better have all their money -- and probably kill the Joker and his crazies, but instead the Joker fucks them over. Hard."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:33 AM on January 30, 2009

Response by poster: It seems that the mobsters were split on how to view the Joker - the Chechen seems to embrace him from the beginning, while Maroni takes a much more cautious approach. Hence the split when Lao reveals the location of the money - the Chechen goes with the Joker to get the money while Maroni informs Gordon of the Joker's location because he fears (correctly) that the Joker is taking over.

I think the Chechen went with the Joker hoping to get the mob's "half" of the money, only to be betrayed. When the Joker told him that his men now work for him (Joker), I puzzled over the next line of that scene "Let's see how loyal a hungry dog really is.". I thought that didn't make sense because the Joker was burning his half while presumably the mob kept its half. But this line makes sense if the Joker is burning ALL of the money.
posted by sherlockt at 11:44 AM on January 30, 2009

Mod note: A few comments removed. "Because the movie sucks/audiences are stupid" needs to be done with a lot more nuance to qualify as a constructive answer, here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:35 PM on January 30, 2009

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