Some were quick to jump to conclusion, but critics raved when fight club broke onto the big screen. Rolling stone called it a “great American classic” while others charged it as being a glorification of violence and anti socialism. I have heard people bash it and praise it but like it of loath you cannot deny that fight club makes an impact on the viewer.
Now there ever vocal liberals are not exactly out of line with their complaints, Fight Club is a very anti movie. Its anti – society, anti – capitalist, anti – conformity and very anti – political. But for all the antis I cant think of one clear cut pro that the film delivers. Therefore where do these people see the pro violence message they all complain about. Yes the movie depicts violence and destruction but that by no means makes it an endorsement. If anything I would say that fight club simply shows how society stems violence while at the same time conditioning itself to handle the effects. One line from the movie proves this “first time at fight club your ass is a wad of dough, after a couple of weeks your chiseled out of wood”. Desensitization anyone?? Now with all this in mind how could anyone call fight club a glorification, the word that springs to mind for me is deconstruction.
“the first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club, the second rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club” this is what greet a disgruntled self loathing group of young men as they step into the arena that is lou’s taverns basement. It begins as a simple club for young men who need to take out their pent up frustration of the free capitalist world out on others that know the feeling. But this is only the beginning. Soon it develops into a very anti capitalist group, constantly overseen my Tyler, always on hand to remind us that “Things that you own wind up owning you,” all fight club really does is reclaims man primal soul from the personal betterment driven consumer world we are forced to live in. in the old days the best man was the better warrior, now days it’s the guy with the most stuff. Why do we feel that trivial possessions complete us or make us better people??
So lets take a look at the plot, fight club begins with out narrator Jack (awesomely played by Ed Norton) sleepwalking his way through life as he suffers from incurable insomnia. Feeling the need to have any kind of emotional release that may help him sleep, jack starts to attend help support groups, any help support group. It is here that he meets Marla Singer. She is the same as him, and immediately his own discrepancies reflected in her start to make him uneasy in the groups and so in order to be able to cry (emotional release) in order to sleep they divide the groups between them and part ways never wanting to see each other again.
A while later on a business trip Jack first meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), an over the top eccentric soap salesman. One thing lead to another and an unfortunate turn of evens leads to Jack moving in with Tyler in the worst area of town in a house that can only be described a s a shit whole. Over time they become close and one drunken night have a friendly fist fight just because they haven’t had one before. It is here the find true release of emotion and frustration and it soon becomes a regular occurrence. But that’s not all, soon other join them in letting go of their socialist driven rage and fight club is born. Unfortunately for jack this is where is life begins to tail spin.
Directed by David Fincher who gave us the magnificent “se7en” also staring Pitt. Fight club incorporates all the trade marks we have come to love from Finchers style. Reminiscent of the old film noir style , he used edgy unstable shots and close ups to really draw you into the world of fight club. From the very beginning of the movie fight club has you captivated. Its crisp, flashy eye candy intro immediately gives way to some excellent pacing and dialogue that is only ever really seen in a Tarentino movie. Frequently Fincher break the barrier between audience and actor by using certain technique that make this seem less like a movie and more like an ad campaign, the Ikea home transformation is a particular favorite of mind for this effect. As well as this there are several not quite so subliminal scenes scattered through out the reel.
The acting in fight club is tip top. Pitt more and more stepping out from the Pretty boy shadow he was plagued with for most of his career and proving once and for all that he can be a real person and not a nice set of abs. He is given the more extravagant role here and pulls it off to perfection. However it is Edward Norton that really makes fight club a joy to watch. He, in his pat roles has always played an adapting character. He begins the movie as one character and by the end he is almost an opposite person. This time it feels like he is not hiding behind a script written character and actually bringing himself to the role. I cant think of anyone else who could have played Jack and had the same effect.
Helena Bonnem Carter was praised for her role as Marla, but it doesn’t seem that Marla is all that different from the roles that she normally plays. Look at her in any movie she has worked on and there is always that little bit of masochists ditz lurking, but she did ok in a limited role. One person I have to give props to is Meatloaf (yep you read right), he does a great job portraying simple and lovable “Bob”.
Despite the surface glitzy over tones fight club is at heart a twisted psychological journey through the mind of a very dissatisfied young man reaching out for acceptance. The message of the movie is simple in its complexity. Don’t sleep through life, you only have a limited time on this planet so do with it things that benefit you the most, not what society determines you should be doing.
For lack of a better term fight club is a generation x movie. Generation x is that lost group of people that were born in between all the post war baby boom and the wealth driven 80’s. this is a term thrown out a lot but generation x as I see it seems to stem from the silent hard worked generation of the depression. Making gen x themselves a group of socially dysfunctional people striving to find their place in the sun. I mean have you ever met a real generationxer. At basic you could say that generation x was the kids that were expected to have a lower standard of living than their parents before them did.
Gen-Y may be taking over MTV and prime-time programming, but Xers have begun making some kick-ass movies. The Matrix, There’s Something About Mary, Pulp Fiction, Wayne’s World, South Park, Swingers–and Fight Club. All of these are generational statements. Many critics and pundits are saying that Fight Club is our generation’s A Clockwork Orange. While the comparison is valid, Fight Club may instead have more in common with If…, Malcolm McDowell’s first film.
Much like IF was, fight club is a dark comical fantasy depicting an unrealistic uprising of the common man against a society and government that cares more about their own well being than that of the general populous. At the same time fight club goes against the grain and proclaims that everything our parents and the media as well as our teaching have drilled into us over the years, we are not special, we cant all make a difference. “You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake,” denounces Tyler. “We are all the part of the same compost heap.”
Although many movie are labeled as Riske, it seems to be a term that is over used to describe many lower quality movies. However fight club takes no prisoners. I think the reason a lot of people dislike this movie is that it throws your life into your own lap and then tells you what a pile of shit it is. Not what you want for your 12 bucks at the movies granted, but a statement non the less. At the same time there are a lot of easily influenced teens out there that might not see fight club for what it is and head off to reek mayhem on society and they friends in their own basement battle zone.
For this fight club has been called “irresponsible” by the Christian coalition. Fight club cant be blamed for stupidity. The movie isn’t irresponsible but parents who let their overly impressionable kids watch something they cant fully understand is just like painting a target on coffee bars all over the country.
In evaluating Fight Club’s alleged irresponsibility, Edward Norton himself may have put it best: “Art has always reflected society. Art doesn’t invent violence. It doesn’t inspire violence. This movie examines violence and the roots of frustration that are causing people to reach out for such radical solutions. And that’s exactly the sort of discussion we should be having about our culture. Because a culture that doesn’t examine its violence is a culture in denial, which is much more dangerous.” ( copied from the L.A Times)
In conclusion I have no problems with fight club as a movie. Its interesting, captivating and extremely fun to watch. Maybe some of these liberals should just get over it and accept that its just a movie. If you don’t let your kids watch it, or even if you morally educate them well enough, there wouldn’t be a question of does this endorse violence. It would just be a question of why didn’t this movie get any Oscar nominations?? 9 out of 10