The trajectory of Fight Club is mystifying. In its first hour or so, this paint appears to be a gloriously spiteful and well-acted satire of our spurious contemporary “crisis of masculinity “: self-pitying people hugging in groups and claiming scapegoat status – modern consumer society having allegedly interpreted the poorest of the poor dears’ hunter-gathering instincts obsolete.
But, by the end, it has untangled catastrophically into a strident, shallow, ostentatious birth with a “twist ” purposing that doesn’t operate. And it is a film which smugly flirts, oh-so-very-controversially, with some of the intellectual and cultural paraphernalia of autocracy – but does not have anything like the nerve, still less the cerebral equipment, to back this pose up.
Edward Norton imparts a compulsively twitchy, nerdy, hollow-eyed act as Fight Club’s Narrator: a 30 -year-old single guy with a white collar errand in the automotive industry and trade secrets craving; he adoration listening support groups posing as a sufferer. Hilariously, this is the only thing that imparts him an psychological high.
Fight Club has a classic scene where he revolves up at a testicular cancer victims’ group and the participants have to pair off, snuggling, sobbing and giving it all out. He teams up with Robert – a cracking act from the vocalist Meat Loaf( no kidding) – who has grown tits after his pellets ought to have chop off. How ridiculous is that? How figurative is that?
Into this ghastly and frankly dysfunctional existence steps the super-cool and route charismatic Tyler Durden, a circulating soap salesman in a cerise leather coat and funky, Elvis-ish shadows: a funny and seductive act from Brad Pitt, who has never been better. Tyler innovates Ed to the Fight Club: secret bare-knuckle brawl where nerdy weaklings such as Norton get to reconnect life-changingly with their inner macho men.
So far, really cool. There’s stylish rollercoaster guidance from David Fincher, amazing executions from Brad and Ed, and also a seductive, gravelly-voiced, cynical Helena Bonham Carter as Marla, the girl they both want to screw. And Jim Uhls’ screenplay gets roof-raising shrieks with the pair’s fantasy about which fame and historic flesh they’d most like to fight( respectively, Gandhi and William Shatner ).
Where it all comes apart is where Tyler tries to use the fight club as the basis for a kind of anarcho-terrorist mob, subverting and blowing up the marks of bullshit corporate America that have taken their testicles away. Tyler brands Ed Norton’s arm with a “kiss ” symbol in acid, laying down a sub-Sadeian/ Nietzschean riff about how “its only” in pain that you can forget about the fatuity of God and become yourself. He reveals that the soap he sells is made of human flab, stolen from liposuction clinics – and later we listen his admirers will have to provide their own pitch-black shirts.
Pretty unsubtle. We know which associations and personas Brad and Ed are fooling around with. But do they? The suggests are never followed through, and the movie never has the pellets really to take responsibility for the nihilism, rampage and desperation it appears to be gesticulating towards.
Indeed, there is a scene in which Tyler, in full existential/ Zarathustra mode, startles a Korean student dropout working in a convenience store into restarting his biology categorizes because a veterinarian is what he really wanted to be. So, there is, like, a good side to the whole human-fat-soap, blackshirt circumstance! Fight Club is a dumbed-down extremism, Extremism Lite , no-brainer extremism for the Rush Limbaugh generation, an audience that visualizes the “diceman ” is a really objection philosophy.
Moreover, those much-lauded, much-censored fighting vistums, for all their crunchy , nose-popping verite, are as free from sincere outcome as Itchy and Scratchy. The Fight Club never gets out of see; scrappers seem to know when to stop, like Judo contestants in the Commonwealth Recreation; and the thing never escalates or must continue to be policed by big people with tyre cast-irons – what a dashed sporting, chivalrous Fight Club!
Brad combinations it up loads without his lovely boasts going a scraping( Ed stands his injuries as a trade mark of macho courage ). Frankly, as Brad ponces about the place with his trousers hitched down to his hips, to show off just as much pert musculature as is practicable, he looks like he couldn’t pushed his way out of a pair of Calvin Klein boxer summary. Has anyone connected with this film ever actually been in any opposes?
The horrific fact is that Fight Club jettisons its sense of humour 60 instants in, and, so far from satirising the tedious “crisis of masculinity ” substance slopping around the airwaves either slope of the Atlantic, the film simply endorses it, with Tyler presented as a deeply concerning Zeitgeist anti-hero. And, in the end, this just doesn’t multitude often of a punch.