Friday, 6 January 2017

Fight Club | Opposing Characters | Hero's Journey | Film Review | Year 2

Fight Club movie poster

On the whole, the film Fight Club is a confusing piece but genius within its own rights. The film stars Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, not forgetting Helena Bonham Carter. Norton’s character features as the narrator. His name is unspoken as he has a clear mental split. His other half played by Brad Pitt is known as Tyler Durden. This split mental state is only revealed to the unaware audience in the finale of this film. Both characters are so well written and well-defined that in some cases the audience is completely unaware that these two characters could be only one.

We first meet the narrator as a depressed -year-old single guy who works as a recall specialist for the automobile industry. A job which he despises. He is seen attending a support group for individual struggling with terminal diseases, although he is actually physically healthy. Strangely we learn that it is during his participation of the support groups that it gives him an ‘emotional high’. It’s here during these meetings that he meets Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) who, like the narrator is faking illness. 

During one of his flights he meets the overly charismatic character, Tyler Durden, a travelling soap salesman for the first time. It is Tyler who helps co-create Fight Club and eventually starts Project Mayhem.

On the narrators return home to his apartment, he finds that the apartment was blown up due to a gas explosion. He rings Tyler and forms a strange relationship. From here on out the story is split between encounters between the narrator and Tyler Durden or Marla Singer.

One amazing thing about this film, is that we are treated to several Easter eggs that only enhanced the viewing when you realise they are there. The first, comes before the film has barely begun. After the first traditional copyright warning there is in fact a second warning that flashes for barely a second. 

The secondary warning screen, seen only for a spilt second.

Other Easter eggs are smaller. In one instance the director David Fincher has claimed in several interviews that there is at least one Starbucks cup visible in every scene of the movie. Even small trivial bits, such as Helena Bonham Carter asking her make-up artist to do all of her make-up left handed because she thought that her character of Marla wouldn't care or be good at that kind of thing. When the narrator is sitting at work writing haikus, the names in the document on his screen is in actuality a list of the films production assistants and crew members. In the scene where the narrator first punches Tyler Durden, Edward Norton was supposed to 'fake hit' Brad Pitt but at the last minute, the director told Norton to actually punch Pitt. The wince we see is real pain.

One golden Easter egg that Fincher added in, is the fact that we actually see Tyler Durden flash on screen four times before we meet his character. These sneaky shots actually mimic one of Durden’s acts from one of his jobs. We are told that Tyler works as a film projector assistant who splices in a pornographic shot into family friendly films for fun.

The movie contains several subtle hints about the relationship between Tyler Durden and the narrator. For example, when they both get on the bus only the narrator pays the fare. Later in the movie when they're in the car together that Tyler is driving the narrator also gets out on the drivers side not the passengers Side as we would assume. 

Originally the narrators' world revolved around being a sheep to society. He had to have everything from the IKEA catalogue but didn't know what he wanted out of life or what he needed. He credited much of his downfall to his lack of sleep and insomnia but had no real-life goals until he met Tyler. He is a flawed character obviously revelling in the struggle of others, but who is really seeking human contact.

On the other hand, Tyler Durden had a very clear view of how society and its rules made people conform and really all he wanted was the opposite. He didn't care for furniture, clothes or money and claimed he didn't need anything. In fact it is his clear philosophy that is most interesting about his character. “it's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything’ ‘we buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like’

Overall, Fight Club's bipolar and slightly schizophrenic approach to the film is not only a genius idea but allows the audience to watch time and time again with a sense of child like awe as more subtle plot points emerge and information and comments are understood. This ingenious piece allows for a wonderful insight into split personality with a large dose of humour, wit and philosophy. Tyler Durden and the narrator are definitely polar opposites yet two halves of a whole all at once, creating a unique view of the story with every watch. The plot flows seamlessly from act to act and is full of life as well as lies.   

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