The Psychological Theories That Were Explored In Rorschach 

Running successfully in the theatres, Rorschach is a psychological thriller film starring Mammootty, Sharaffudin, Jagadish, Grace Anthony, and Bindu Panicker. The film follows the legacy of Neo-Noir where an ominous plot is narrated using a flaky and shadowy story style.

Though the movie is much loved, many fail to draw a reference to the name of the movie with the characters or plot of the movie. Drawing this conclusion allows the audience to deepen their cinematic experience by picking out the nuanced traits spread through the film. The psychological terms explored in Rorschach are: 

Rorschach Inkblot text 

The Psychological Theories That Were Explored In Rorschach

The word Rorshach is derived from the famous Rorschach Inkblot Test. It is a projective psychological test developed by Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach. Based on the perception of the Inkblot by the patient, the interpretive analysis is prepared by the psychologist. The Inkblots are mostly in colors grey and black and shaped in the form of butterflies or moths. It is used to evaluate a person’s personality, characteristics, and emotional functioning. This includes emotional distress, schizophrenia, dissociation, and evaluating trauma. The image of moths and butterflies in the form of Inkblots is presented in the poster as well as in the face of the killer. 

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The Psychological Theories That Were Explored In Rorschach

Luke (Mammootty) is suspected to have schizophrenia as he is dissociated from reality and has a disorganized way of thinking and speaking alongside constant bouts of hallucinations. He sees the shadows of his past and is unable to leave them behind. He tries to revive and track them down to stay connected with his former life. The face of the killer can be equated with a Rorshach Inkblot Test which is used to analyze the vengeful schizophrenic who has set his life’s purpose on revenge. 

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Classical conditioning 

The Psychological Theories That Were Explored In Rorschach

The audience is integrated into a part of the movie as their involvement is ensured using the classical conditioning technique by Pavlov. A high ringing alarm indicates the shift from the present to the past. Finally, as the movie progresses, a direct shift to the past leaves our mind alert with every alarm ring.

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Repetition compulsion 

The innate need to unconsciously or consciously repeat patterns or events leads to repetition compulsion. The need for Luke (Mammootty) to create scenarios that mimic the scenes from his past which lead to his life’s greatest trauma, allows him to approach the situation from a third-person perspective. It gives him a false sense of hope that he may be in control this time. This may also arise due to the intense guilt he feels and the need to take control of the situation and in turn, his power. 

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The Psychological Theories That Were Explored In Rorschach

The pain of losing a loved one and the helplessness of being unable to save them are portrayed in the movie. Luke suffers from major Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, leading him to have irregular sleep cycles, disturbing dreams, and a constant paranoia that someone is around him. This may lead him to be desensitized to the suffering of those he hurts as a form of coping mechanism. Further, the extreme vengeance he holds allows fighting the survivor’s guilt. He is even ready to sacrifice his own life to enact the revenge he deems fit. 

These are just a few examples of the psychological theories traversed through the course of Rorschach. Comment below if you are able to relate more examples to these theories or are able to pinpoint more theories!

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Shivani Sarat
Content writer and creator. Author of 'Black Daises', a poetry anthology.

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