This is one of my favourite films and seeing as Sarah bought me the 10th Anniversary Edition on Blu-Ray for Christmas I figured this challenge was the perfect opportunity to break it out of it’s plastic wrapping and give it a spin.
First off don’t let the name put you off, Fight Club isn’t your typical no brainer pugilistic movie it’s a film with a message, a message that it delivers like a right hook to the face. A scathing indictment of consumerism and the live to work ethic that holds sway over so many lives nowadays Fight Club’s story centers on an unnamed character (billed simply as ‘The Narrator’) played by Edward Norton who works in a white collar job he hates. Plagued by insomnia, when he’s not at work his life consists of catalog shopping from IKEA and, following his doctors suggestion, visiting support groups for the terminally ill to give himself the sense of family and belonging that is missing from his life to allow him to sleep. It’s at one of these support groups that The Narrator first meets Marla Singer played by Helena Bonham-Carter. Like The Narrator Marla is a ‘tourist’ at the support groups and whilst he seeks intimacy he avoids it with Marla seeing that they are too alike. Splitting up the support groups to avoid having to see Marla she still becomes a seductive recurring figure in his life.
I would flip through a catalog and wonder, “What kind of dining set defines me as a person?” We used to read pornography. Now it was the Horchow Collection.
During one of his work trips The Narrator encounters Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a self-assured, nihilistic manufacturer of soap. Whilst their initial meeting is brief The Narrator develops a dependent relationship with Tyler after he returns to his apartment to discover that it has been destroyed in a fire. Having no friends or family due to living in his consumer/work driven cocoon for so long The Narrator calls Tyler and, after an awkward conversation in a bar, Tyler agrees to let The Narrator stay with him but only if he fights him first. As the film progresses The Narrator, under the guidance of Tyler, gradually lets go of his old lifestyle instead embracing a life of impulsiveness and freedom. The pair create Fight Club, an underground bare knuckle fighting club where anything goes, and begin to attract more disillusioned men looking to break out of their rut and to feel something real and valuable.
Who you were in Fight Club is not who you were in the rest of the world.
A phone call from Marla insinuates her back into The Narrators life and she becomes involved with Tyler leading to a rift between the two and becomes the catalyst for the finale of the film. Fight Club soon evolves into an underground anarchist movement with an anti-corporate manifesto called ‘Project Mayhem’ led by Tyler. The Narrator begins to find himself on the fringe of the group and when a member of Project Mayhem is killed by police during a sabotage operation he wants to shut down the group but finds that he suddenly has no control and that it’s taken on a life of it’s own. As The Narrator struggles to put an end to Project Mayhem the films twist is revealed and the final scene, scored to The Pixies hit Where is My Mind, leaves the viewer thinking “I did not see that coming”.
The decision to leave the main character unnamed serves to show him as an everyman that viewers can identify with in some way. With it’s gritty visual style, exceptional scoring, and excellent casting the film is a masterpiece of modern cinema which deserves to be in everyone’s top ten list.
Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.