Fight Club: A Formal Review

Topics: Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk, David Fincher Pages: 6 (2273 words) Published: April 13, 2014


Fight Club: A formal review

Tarrin Duerr
WGST 250
March 4th, 2014
Prof. Walters

Fight club is the fictional story of an unnamed man who has recently been suffering from episodes of insomnia. It is based off the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk; it was directed by David Fincher and stars Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter as the three main characters. The film was released in Canada October 15, 1999, a month and a half before the WTO protests. In order to combat his condition Jack (Norton) seeks out various therapy groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Cancer survivors. Through these groups he indirectly meets Marla Singer (Carter). Their chance encounter sends our protagonist on a journey that started before it began. The story is told through a narration of the main character (referred to as “Jack” or “the narrator” from herein). The movie starts out with the camera hurtling, at a microscopic level, out from Jack’s brain; the camera continues to pan out until it focuses on a single hair continuing until the viewer notices a gun shoved into the hero’s mouth (Inside Out. (n.d.). Film Comment.). The epic cinematic effects do not stop there, later on in the film a lengthy scene exploring how Jack’s apartment and life exploded in a blaze of glory; the pan-out style of cinematography used in the title sequence is also utilized in this scene as well. One of the more interesting aspects of this film, that many critics have failed to point out is the timeline of Fight club the novel, Fight Club the film, The WTO protests and the 9/11 tragedy. Fight club the novel was published in 1996, presented were ideas of anti-capitalism, anti-media and undertones of intolerance for religion. FOX picked up the rights to make the book into a movie in 1997 and produced the film in two short years, releasing it in October of 1999, much of the same ideas and themes in the book were present in the film, and the medium of film was better able to explore the aesthetic critiques of contemporary society. In the book and film the scenario of destroying major credit card headquarters are present, the idea behind this is to set every American citizens debt to zero making everyone equal and reducing American civilization to a hunter-gatherer state. The WTO protests hold their roots around the time Fight club the novel was published; proponents of this group challenged the international organizations such as the IMF, WTO and the World Bank on the basis that these organizations promoted and reinforced various inequalities throughout the world. Less than two years after the release of fight club the film and the WTO protests the events of 9/11 unfold. If one watches the video of the 9/11 towers’ collapsing it bears a striking resemblance to the destruction of the credit card companies’ headquarters in Fight Club. The message behind Fight Club and the WTO protests were soon lost in the ensuing media frenzy of “The War on Terror” which still rages on to this day. The unfolding of these events in such a short timeline deserve more attention than has been received; the message of Fight Club and the WTO protests might be better understood if they were held in comparison to the major disaster of 9/11. The portrayal of masculinity is a heavy topic in Fight Club and will need to be looked at in two ways. The first is how homosexuality is portrayed throughout the movie, to understand this we must look at the possible romantic relationships the narrator has before him. First, we must assume that because of the strong attraction to Tyler as well as the attraction to Marla the narrator has, he must have a bisexual orientation leaving the open the possibility to many kinds of relationships. The first relationship is developed with Bob or “Bitch Tits”; this can be seen as the narrator’s first foray into challenging hegemonic masculinity. The narrator meets Bob at a therapy group for men with...

Cited: Fincher, D. (Director). (2002). Fight club [Motion picture]. USA: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Inside Out. (n.d.). Film Comment. Retrieved March 1, 2014, from http://www.filmcomment.com/article/inside-out-david-fincher
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