(139 min, 1999)
Director: David Fincher
Writers: Chuck Palahniuk (novel), Jim Uhls (screenplay)
Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter
Breaking the Pattern
Warning: If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think every thing you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told to want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned
„Fight Club” by David Fincher is a masterpiece.
I doubt if there is anyone out there who wouldn’t agree with that statement above. The movie is so complex, unique, fascinating, brilliant, honest and outstanding. I have been trying to write the analysis for 3 years now, I started reading the book, then I finished it and I realized it can’t be used here - the movie is a separate organism in that case, much like with “American Psycho”, the movie, which whilst is one of the most daring and bravest mainstream movies I saw, contains maybe 1% of book’s necessary gore and profoundness.
The human basic need to express its anger – we are angry. why? Tyler has the answer for that:
“God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables — slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't. We're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.”
Is it possible that the race to perfection made us all so alike the only way we can actually FEEL is by beating another human being senselessly? Yes, it’s very possible. I would go as far as to say that the rapid emotions, that sheer anger that fast and violent feelings and experiences are the last resort for many and what gets them through their ordinary, plain days.
“You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”
The movie is a criticism for contemporary world. Its void and emptiness, the similarity between everybody’s lives, consumption, materialism, rat race. “Things you own end up owing you”. The movie’s message is so real and so powerful – the narrator actually has the guts to blow up his own apartment, with all those ridiculous things he bought for the money he earned working in corporate company, doing something he hates, spending those money for stuff he will never need nor use. When he gets rid of it, he doesn’t miss it, he is “enlightened” freed from that absurd pattern seen everywhere at any time.
There is a brilliant exchange in the movie in the scene where Tyler and Narrator talk about their fathers.
“So I graduated. I called my dad and I ask: dad, what’s now? And he said – I don’t know find a job. So I did that and I called him and I asked – dad, what’s now? And he said – I don’t know, get married”
Another of movie’s poignant observations deals with relationships. Narrator and Marla go to therapy groups because only when people think you are dying they are listening to you. It is shown brilliantly in the movie – Narrator is a leader of space monkeys, yet they never listen to him, he doesn’t even listen to Marla, the woman he loves, in his work everybody looks and behaves like they are sleepwalking.
The movie has something common with cult classic ‘Pulp Fiction’ – the amount of coolness, uncanny coolness, which makes people all over the world quote Tyler and dress like Marla.
I believe apart from great, extremely quotable dialogue (the only movie more quotable is I think ‘American Psycho’ – literally every line from that film is utter brilliance), great acting and intense characters, the movie’s coolness lies in the variety of scenes (even the little ones when Tyler sits on the chair after fighting Lou and puts a cigarette in his mouth and immediately there is a hand next to him holding a lighter) and depicting everyone’s dreams.
Let’s talk about the twist for a second. Fincher “got me” first time I was watching the movie. I didn’t see that coming at all. Which is weird ‘cause there are so many hints to the fact that the Narrator and Tyler are actually the same person. Tyler appears in 5 frames at the beginning of the movie, as the projection of Narrator’s mind. When Narrator says “could you wake up as different person?” Tyler drives next to him on stairs. Tyler and Marla are never in the same room. Pay close attention to the conversation the narrator has with the policeman about the arson – it seems what Tyler said was actually said by Narrator to the policeman – hence his strange reactions. Of course all of those clues cannot be discovered the first time – there is simply too much matter here, nobody suspects that in such a monumental film such elaborated lie can be created.
(look at the far right on the last picture :D)
Brad Pitt gave such a wonderful performance here that it just physically hurts me when I see him do such slopy work in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’. This role here is Brad’s best, just after “Burn After Reading”. His Tyler is charismatic leader, everybody would follow him, he plays the role with a hitch of humor, he delivers every line in a haunting way. Not to mention the amount of physical danger and preparation the movie carried.
The movie has one of the finest screenplays I’ve ever saw played out on screen – book is very similar – it’s also the story told by narrator, but the movie, with the variety of settings, tiny scenes, shots of camera, close-ups, twists and turns, slow motions etc. is just overwhelmingly great. I have never been in more awe than I was first time I saw this film for David Fincher. The movie’s both technical and essential side is outstanding and monumental – to create such film, from the scrap, to transform the screenplay into 150 minutes of cult movie which is now quoted, admired and loved by people all over the world. It is the best directing I’ve ever seen.
The movie is one of the few I saw that changed my life – it shows like nothing else, that nothing really matters. That this journey we are on, that life with its meaningless goals will once be over, there will be nothing left of us. We should embrace who we really are, because when we fight it – we are not only happy, but we don’t have a chance to be full and to find that happiness whatever that means for us. Tyler is right – everybody does that, everybody talks to themselves when nobody is watching, everybody imagine themselves as someone else, someone they aspire to be. The key is to be the person you aspire to be, to lose all the meaningless shit, to leave it behind and to evolve. Because one day we are all going to be dust and memories, slowly dissolving in time and space.