“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”
- Tyler Durden
Fight Club is still one of my favourite films and Chuck Palahniuk’s excellent book gave me a better appreciation of the film and how close David Fincher manages to stay to the tone of the novel.
The title seemed like a dark joke in itself. It was almost as if they were drawing in that audience who came looking for violence and blood then smashed them between the eyes with a truly great dark comedy.
Even today some people might not regard it as a comedy rather than some kind of macho action film where Brad Pitt gets to take his top off and say clever lines. I don’t think I’ve spoken to many people my age who haven’t seen this and the idea of so many women going to see it on the back of ‘Meet Joe Black’ still makes me laugh.
Fight Club seems like a film set up to reward the second viewing and the character of Marla Singer is the single greatest example of this. On first viewing she seems very annoying, yet when you watch again you have much more sympathy for her dealing with Norton’s character.
That is down to the big reveal of who Tyler Durden really is. Tyler Durden might well be one of the most interesting characters ever created. His philosophy of self-fulfilment via self-destruction contrasts sharply with the life of Edward Norton’s narrator character ‘Jack’ (although his name is never mentioned).
Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are really likeable in this although Norton struggled to convince me as a psychopath who created an alter ego hell bent on chaos. Pitt is a great fit as Tyler Durden and Helena Bonham Carter’s Marla Singer was hard to take your eyes off. Meat Loaf is also very funny as ‘the Big Moosey’ with his testicular cancer and ‘bitch-tits’.
The first scene with ‘Jack’ and Tyler on the plane set the whole story up well. It ends fantastically with Tyler standing up and posing the question of how he moves past the bent over air hostess in the aisle – “Now, a question of etiquette – as I pass, do I give you the ass or the crotch?”
The film made me think about what I had just seen for the next few days, which is always a good sign. It poked fun at modern society and it probably struck a chord, on some level, with how men feel about consumerism, advertising and often feeling little more than a number on an excel spreadsheet to their employers.
I don’t think it was sending a message about masculinity or that 30 year old males need to be in a fight to truly feel anything in the modern day. I don’t think the film or the book even had an underlying message. I’ve still never bought anything out of IKEA though, and I’d like to think that’s in some way down to Tyler’s philosophy.
Fight Club was just a dark comedy that contained beautifully dark lines like Marla Singer saying “I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school” and that’s how it should be remembered.
I am still Jack’s complete recommendation.