THE SOCIAL COMMENTARY IN THE FILM
The Fisher King is a film that explores the themes of guilt, redemption, love, and madness in a modern urban setting. The film also offers a social commentary on the effects of media, isolation, homelessness, and violence in contemporary society.
It criticizes shock jocks and sensationalist media and the role they play in influencing people’s actions and opinions. It skewers the lack of accountability they have for the consequences of their words. Everyone listened to Jack poke at an unstable caller until the caller went on a mass shooting, but the consequences only involved him losing his job, and he acted like this punishment was paramount to what everyone else went through. Sure, he's haunted by depression and guilt, but he never faces real consequences for his role.
The use of the myth of the Fisher King provides a metaphor for the corrupted state of society. The Fisher King is the legendary figure who guards the Holy Grail, but he is deeply wounded and can never heal. Only a fool can accidentally save him. Clearly, these are the roles for Jack, Parry, and the quest for the supposed Grail, which Jack believes is a real thing, but is actually just learning to care for others again… and maybe forgive himself. To do things for others (and he does so gloriously when he sets off the alarm to save the old man).
The visions of the Red Knight and all the elements of fantasy and magical realism show us how imagination and creativity can be used to deal with adversity and with trauma. The fact Jack sees some of them (especially the Grand Central Waltz), demonstrates the line between mental illness and choosing to escape.