#13: Fight Club (1999)

Before I start, this is fairly spoilerific. Do not read if not watched. 







Fight Club is about men. It’s about dissatisfied, frustrated and suffocated men, which in the film’s terms, is all men. It’s about a ‘generation of men raised by women’, unlike all those previous generations which weren’t raised by women - but I’ll come back to that. 
Fight Club is about freedom and autonomy, true independence and true community, and essentially about the modern post-industrial economies that the West has built for itself. Seeing as I’ve decided to go for the spoiler-filled angle, I’ll go ahead and say that the entire film is about that last 5 seconds - the credit company buildings being razed to the ground. Everyone’s back to zero - true economic equality. The film starts just before that realisation of an idealistic economic restart, and the whole point of everything else is to get us back there, ready to partake in this liberation.
Except, Fight Club isn’t about economics at all. It’s about men. Women suffocate men - this generation of men raised by women. That line in particular frustrated me, because I think it’s fully straight - I can’t detect any irony at all, as much as I search desperately for the undertones. This consumerist society is evil, oppressive and makes slaves in white collars of us all. And somehow it’s the women’s fault (the film doesn’t go into much detail here, so we’ll have to take it’s word for it). 
Helena Bonham Carter is perfect for the role of Marla Singer, a suicidal wreck of a woman who has long given up playing along with the ways of the world. Yet, as much depth as she brings to Marla, she’s still only ever Tyler Durden’s (Brad Pitt/ arguably Edward Norton who is technically The Narrator) um… “particular” buddy. Her pain is real, but it’s not dealt with. Her fury with her inconstant lover is dissolved the moment he’s in pain - his supersedes hers. Marla’s struggle in the world reflects the other characters’, and her suffering is similar, but there’s no place for her in Fight Club.

Although I’ve had a good rant, I do actually really like this film - it’s just a shame that it stands for some pretty reprehensible ideas. Edward Norton as the main, unnamed, character leads the whole show with considerable strength, somehow managing not to be out staged by an on-form Brad Pitt as the free-thinking, beer bottle-throwing, Fight Club founding revolutionary leader. We laugh, we cringe, we hide behind the nearest available cushion at the sometimes hideous violence, but ultimately I’m not sure if we care. Well, I at least struggled to. Fight Club is more a film where you sit back and watch it all play out, wondering what’s the point if you’re not included in this quest to regain manhood for all (men).


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