Fight Club (1999) directed by David Fincher starring Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter and Brad Pitt is a film whose genre is hard to pin down. It is a thriller, action, comedy and a romance.
I recently finished reading the 1996 book the film is based on written by Chuck Palahniuk, and I was hooked, despite knowing the twist ending having seen this film multiple times. The book was almost enlightening. I had heard these words said by Pitt in the film, but reading it made them sink in. Foremost I understood more how the film could be described as romance. Marla Singer (Bonham Carter) does care for the narrator (Norton) and him for her.
After finishing the book I once again sat down to watch the film. The themes laid out in the book became clearer. These men, fighting in bar basements, are proving themselves. They are no longer labelled by their job, family, riches, upbringing. They are fighting to prove themselves. They just fight, just as those in the support groups the narrator attends cry, to release everything building up inside.
One reason the film had such an impact and has grown to be a cult classic is Tyler Durden (Pitt in one of his best roles). He is a creation of the narrators mind. In his insomniac state, he has created the person he wants to be – Tyler. The narrator is stuck in his job, has carved out a perfect apartment with IKEA furniture but he needs to change. So Tyler in born.
Tyler is the anarchist, away from morals and empathy, he can do as he likes and fight the bigger man. Fight Club starts that, but Project Mayhem continues it. Norton and Pitt said they trashed a new Volkswagen Beetle in the film (homework for Project Mayhem) because the car was a new image that destroyed a classic. Advertising had taken over their generation, and Tyler was the embodiment of breaking away from that. Taking a stand. Just like the soap.
So, over 10 years on, Tyler and his twisted message and ideas of a new world still have an impact on a society focused on celebrity and money and materialistic items. But right at the basics, Fight Club is a brilliant film with great acting, music and brutal fight scenes. Family fun!