Fight Club (1999)

I hadn't seen Fight Club in perhaps 6 years. I don't know what took me so long to watch it again (aside from my DVD being stolen last year). It is clearly one of the strongest movies ever made.

The focus of the film is the emasculation of the urban, consumerist man. We meet the Narrator (Edward Norton). He's got a desk job. He's addicted to purchasing Ikea furniture. He's ordinary. He's got insomnia. He meets Tyler (Brad Pitt) on a plane and his life is changed forever. He ends up leaving everything behind in the pursuit of manhood - disguised here as fighting.

The emasculation theme comes up repeatedly. The Narrator frequents a testicular cancer support group where he meets Bob (Meat Loaf) who has developed breasts due to a surge of estrogen in his body - a man who has almost literally turned into a woman. Bob ultimately joins the fight club. A penalty for errant fight club members later on in the film is castration. The main characters' fathers are discussed as having abandoned their families - and now a whole generation is living without having been fathered. The Narrator even says he is "a teenager in a 30-year-old's body."

Now the film of course is a caricature of losing your manhood, but it does inspire me to return to activities that affirm and define a man. I'm not saying that there are specific things that only men should do or that define manhood. I am saying that many things that men seek - physical struggle, to feel, to produce, truth, the wild, sexuality - have been replaced with comfort, complacency, consumerism, advertising, domestication, pornography. How many men eat chicken and have never killed one personally? I am one.

Consumerism is nearly a character in this film. Many brand names are mocked throughout the film; I'm not sure if it was product placement or not. Funny.

The acting was perfect, especially the four main characters - Norton, Pitt, Carter, Meat Loaf. I really focused on the writing this time around and it is spectacular, probably because it is based on a book. The other aspects of the film making are superbly wrought as well. Director David Fincher also directed The Game, Se7en, and this year's Zodiac. Fincher started directing music videos and it shows in this fast-paced thrill.

Official Site | IMDB

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