Monday, October 26, 2009

New thoughts on "Fight Club" (the movie) - SPOILERS WITHIN

Okay, so I just finished watching Fight Club again, first time in almost ten years. (I saw it several times back then, and the DVD has sat on my shelf for many years since. It was time to revisit.)

These thoughts are for those who have indeed watched the film already. It gives away too much if you are planning to see it. There's your warning!

My earlier feeling was that this movie metaphorically described how to get out of rut, out of the matrix, so to speak.

Watching it this time, I really started to wonder what to do with the brainwashing aspect of the Durden plan. The new recruits are head-shaven. Slogans are shouted into their faces over and over and down the line, passed on. You are not a unique and beautiful snowflake. You are not...you are not....

You have no names...

And then, even when he tries to point out that it's not true, that they do have names, it becomes another slogan. His name is Robert Paulson....

Animal Farm...the initial pig who dies, but first gives a big speech, essentially the Karl Marx of the book...his words are perverted by later pigs, until they become as bad as their original oppressors.

Fight Club seems to be doing something similar, though in the end, yes, no one gets hurt by the exploding buildings, but still...

It's happily not simple. Which makes it not a nice neat metaphor after all.

It's making me think about the film's intent more. Yes, it still blows me away in some ways. But most of that comes from the first act, as Roger Ebert describes in his review:

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19991015/REVIEWS/910150302/1023

I think he is too dismissive in his review, but if I toss aside his desire to turn his observations into criticism and his refusal to try to see a bit deeper his own cynicism, he provides some insights. I don't share his critique of the art, but it is nice to notice that someone else sees the Fascist parallels...

Is Fight Club more about Nazism than about freedom?

I'm thinking it's very possible. And how difficult it is to know the difference between freeing yourself (hitting rock bottom) and deciding that you are a victim (the middle children of society, or whatever).

2 comments:

  1. I have a few comments.

    1. I see the fascist parallels also.

    2. The narrator (Edward Norton's character) is clearly insane.

    3. Insanity is a high price for freedom.

    4. But, of course, by freeing themselves from their materialistic lives, they all become slaves in a sort of fascist state. And that's not freedom.

    5. The only way the narrator can free himself from his own slavery is to put a bullet through his head.

    6. So anyone who thinks that there's something cool about fight club or the narrator's rent-free domicile or his relationship with Marla is either a sociopath or just hasn't thought hard enough about it.

    7. Though we must grant that our materialistic society produced the men who are easily seduced by Durden and Fight Club. So a way out is needed.

    8. If there's a way out of the rut, Fight Club isn't it. Clearly, there are other ways out.

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  2. Sorry it took so long to approve your comment. I think I have the settings wrong...I did not get notified that there was a pending comment (I don't seem to get many!) I check on that.

    Thank you for your comments. I wonder what #9, the "other ways out," might be.

    ReplyDelete

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