1990 Silicon Dreams Games and Movie Reviews: Fight Club: The movie your parents didn't want you to see.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fight Club: The movie your parents didn't want you to see.

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Fight Club is a 1999 movie by David Fincher, starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, about a man who struggles to make sense of the reality he's forced upon himself. The fighting club from the title though, is nothing like your regular underground kickboxing ring, it's a philosophical movie, about the way corporate reality has changed the definition of what a man is, how he should act and behave in society, how he should lead his life. The philosophy of Fight Club can be portrayed best in one simple line: "How much can you really know about yourself, if you've never been in a fight?"

Norton's character is your everyday salary man, who's got a university degree, a nice condo, a carefully arranged nest of IKEA furniture and a job 'to die for' or as is later revealed, a job that you'd wish you were dead rather than having to do. He works in accident assessment for a car manufacturer, as described by himself "Assessing the financial benefits of a recall" on various vehicles on the market. The job consists of him having to apply a single formula - how many accidents have been caused by a malfunction in the vehicle? How much does it cost to pay off the family of the victims? If that sum of money is less than the cost of a nation-wide recall nobody does anything about the problem.

Norton's character as a consequence suffers from insomnia, and finds his only means of emotional release in crashing various help-groups, like an ascending bowel cancer association, or one for victims of blood parasites, another one is dedicated to men, who have had testicular cancer, resulting in one or both of their testicles being removed. In these meetings he poses under various names, in order to get close to te kind of people who are used to experiencing extreme pain and anguish, and in that manner allow himself to express his own distress from leading a pointless life, overridden with fake procedural interactions. In these meetings he also finds a fellow 'faker' - Helena Bohnam Carter's character is also there, although admittedly for the free coffee, and the fact it costs less than a movie. And as it happens that often 'the damaged love the damaged' they fall for each other in the same dysfunctional and broken manner that punctuates the rest of their lives.

Later on Jack or Cornelius (as the book and movie sometimes refer to him - Norton's character) meets somebody who's going to reshape his existence entirely - Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) is the exact opposite of what Jack is. Tyler's living in a defunct abandoned house in a crap-sack part of town. Tyler works two or three jobs at a time, sometimes at a movie theater, where he's splicing single frames of pornography into family flicks. Other times at a high-class restaurant where he meticulously spices up the insanely-priced food with his own bodily fluids. Tyler is free, and Tyler wants to help Jack escape from the bondage of white-collar corporate workmanship.

What follows is a complete deconstruction of the fake mannerisms that make up our daily interactions in a life that's been fluffed up, desensitized from normal human anger and strive. Fight Club is not about fighting other people, it's about fighting yourself. A generation of men raised by women, need to be taught how to fight, not for the sake of it, but because it's the only real thing left in a world of brand-name underwear and shoes that cost more than minimum wage.

Fight Club is Chuck Palahniuk's first published novel, and it's a manifesto of his own outlook on life, his own experience. Besides that it was a sort of slap in the face of publishers who rejected all of his previous manuscripts for being too grim, when one last time he got rejected, Palahniuk set out to write a book so dark and destructive in its message, that nobody would ever dare read one of his manuscripts ever again. In a chance set of circumstances the manuscript actually got accepted for publishing and later on it was turned into the staple 90s David Fincher movie that left its mark on an entire generation. 


  1. Great title. Fight Club, the book, is just amazing. The ending leaves you all confused, alright, but it`s definitely a better ending than the one the movie has. I mean, in the movie it feels as if the narrator regrets everything he did.

  2. Ahhh Fight Club. There are still too many people who don't see that as it should be.

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