Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Movies! - "I'm Jack's smirking revenge."

Fight Club is a movie that a lot of people didn't get, continue to not get and simply never will get. Of course, you can never make this clear to them, as people who don't get stuff rarely acknowledge that the problem is that they just don't get it. There are people I know with whom I would never bring up this movie. I wouldn't recommend it to them, and if they've seen it, I don't want to hear what they have to say because I know that it will involve a lot of comments that only a person who doesn't understand it would say.

I certainly liked it the first time I saw it, but just like most of my favorite movies, I grew to love it with repeated viewings. This is also the movie that made me a Brad Pitt fan. I liked him just fine in Seven, but honestly, there might have been some other actors who could have pulled it off. With Fight Club, it's Pitt and only Pitt who could be Tyler Durden.

What's good about the film is that it gets you on board with the protagonist right away. At least, it does if you're a thoughtful person who realizes that true happiness can never be achieved through the embrace of the consumer culture in which we live. Edward Norton's character (let's just call him Jack) is living a pretty hollow, meaningless existence at a job where he doesn't even feel good about working for. I genuinely felt for him when he tried to find some sort of real, human connection (although brief and fleeting) by going to support groups. I also understood how getting in a fight made him feel alive. After all, when you're numb to everything, getting punched in the face would suddenly make you feel a lot more aware of the world around you.

I suppose I should point out that I don't really want to do these things, and I don't think that a person should. However, I do understand it up to a point. Still, that's what the movie is trying to do. It gets you to feel for the character and understand his actions. By that point, it forces you go along with where those actions will eventually lead. Of course, people are always worried that impressionable youngsters will want to duplicate what they see in a movie. Call me crazy, but joining an underground fight club and engaging in urban terrorism seemed like a pretty bad idea - even if I could understand why they were doing it.

Of course, a lot of people won't get this movie for the simple fact that it has a twist to it and the narrative is somewhat unconventional. Also, they'll find the behaviors of Tyler Durden to be so objectionable that they would never like him. No, I don't think that splicing in a fraction of a second of porno into a kid's movie is a good idea. I'll be lying if I told you that I didn't think that it was funny on some level. The same thing applies to using the fat from liposuctions to make soap that you'll sell to the rich people who had the fat sucked out of them in the first place. (Actually, scratch that. I'd be totally fine with that.)

Much of the film is a visceral thrill. The characters engage in behaviors that I would if I didn't have a conscience or consequences. Watching it satisfies those baser desires without me actually having to engage in them. And perhaps that's where we come to when there are some people who simply don't get the film. Lots of people like to pretend like they don't have those low, animalistic tendencies and to acknowledge them would be inconceivable. Me? I have no problem realizing that they're there. That helps me to keep them in line.

1 comment:

Nolan said...

After watching this too many times, my friends and I bought boxing gloves and had a couple of Fight Club nights, which proves you don't have to be a teenager to do dumb things.

We stopped after we figured out that:

A. Boxing is much more tiring than it looks. You have to be in pretty good shape. Most of us weren't.

B. Going to work with a black eye is actually sort of embarrassing, not cool.

C. Blood is hard to get out of shitty apartment carpet.