It was always the 1968 generation. It was considered an insult not to recall them when mention was made of that year. Critical, revolutionary, taboo destroyer, pacifist, an individualistic protester who emphasizes the individual and underlines the wrongs without providing solutions to social problems.
Much later, the 1990s generation was on everybody’s tongue. A generation that developed a relationship with a computer joystick, that can assume any identity from James Bond to the Queen of England in a virtual that expanded from kick-boxing to strategy games that can think and act in very limit ed areas, Internet geeks whose connection to life is united by the interactive means offered, and that is indifferent to social and even familial problems.
However, there is another generational in between, a generation that inherited the elders’ knowledge. This generation more or less knows equality, social justice, freedom of ideas and speech. Although it does not believe that “we are no more a hunting society,” its members are so cowed that they can be labeled at most a small gear of the System.
This generation is surrounded by new needs and modern solutions put to them, is being mechanized and is aware of what this means. Hence, a generation in deep suffering... It is contaminated, but aware of how it happened. It is living in a house full of furniture, yet aware of the "humiliation" this represents. It is working, yet aware of how “success" becomes an idol that enslaves people. It believes in heaven, is aware of its expulsion, and has not yet lost the hope of heaven, yet it is scared to confront hell and trapped in a dilemma. Again a generation in deep suffering.
What can stop this suffering? Who is the other thief in “set a thief to catch a thief,” that famous proverb? Love, or else an enormous experience that makes you feel alive? How about a fist that reminds you of your veins and the blood they contain? But please you first!
Fight Club starts with scenes from the life of a yuppie. From this introduction we understand the extent of his boredom. He makes “profitable” inspections for an automotive company and suffers insomnia due to statistics, numbers, and routines. The truth is that Norton, our protagonist whom we see with a gun pointed to his mouth, flashbacks the story for us.
The narrator, while seeking a cure for his long-lasting insomnia finds himself in a solidarity organization for the fatally ill. Marla, who attends every therapy session just as he does, disturbs him like him, she also is actually not “dying.” This irritates the narrator, who bad been the only healthy man present. Thus, even though he feels good, his problems recur.
We now begin to observe his metamorphosis, which starts with a chance encounter with the imposing, charismatic, and intelligent Tyler Durden on a plane that led to the start of the Fight Club. But what a club! A club with two rules: 1) You don’t talk about the Fight Club, and 2) You don’t talk about the Fight Club.
Tyler says that self-destruction, rather than self-improvement, might be the answer. Hence, every meeting is full of bloodshed, the fighting people are actually friends, and every punch means happiness for them!
The club’s very name, the close fighting scenes, and the phenomenon of ‘relief/purification” based on mutual consent seemingly gives the impression that Fight Club sanctifies violence. On the contrary, as in Seven and Game, David Fincher presents us with an ironic and hence indirect criticism of the System.
Tyler Durden, a sort of externalized inner soul of the narrator, utters things that are hard to disagree with, such as “You’ll get used to consuming more than you need. Then your belongings will eventually own you,`”, “You are not a beautiful and unique snow-flake” ,“If you have nothing to lose, you won’t be scared to lose,” and “You are not your job. You are not how much you have in the bank. You are not the contents of your wallet. You are not your khakis.”
Durden is asking for the television generation’s rage, and hence is trapped by the surmise of being a rock star or a CEO. But he is not offering a solution; be is merely promising a few hours of liberation from the “cowshed.”
The docile, quiet, and harmonious members of the lower class behave as they wish and discharge on the only property where the right of imposition is left to them, at least for a few hours. However, it does not stay there.
The action spreads to the streets, and deliberately harms the temples of consumption and the System’s key points. The goal is liberating individuals who spend their days under supervision and store unhappiness at night while “watching” other people’s lives, making them feel alive by peculiar experiences up to and including death! Yet it is only after you have lost everything that you are free to do anything. Fight Club represents that kind of freedom.
These relief scenes that are easily transformed into purification ceremonies, as well as the “liberating actions” thesis, evolved into a hegemony that even refuses the identities of its members. The fact that Tyler’s tyranny is a bad replica of the “great corrupt System” is accentuated by Fincher’s ingenious irony.
Let me tell you about Tyler. He had a plan. They trusted him. Tyler said that whatever they own end up owning them. The difference between the goals of the director and the characters becomes apparent. Moreover, Fincher fictionalizes group therapy and the modern psychiatry behind it as a “world of escapism.” The plump man in a group therapy session, a method peculiar to modern society, symbolizes modern times, which advises chemicals for every happiness and ideal.
Fight Club is an inexplicable movie... According to one reviewer: “Even if it was not such an effective satire, it is worth seeing just for its astonishing visual style.”1 It is a dark movie that can be viewed from many angles: revolutionary violence to social personality disorders, the relation between men who see themselves as the “waste of the world” and women who “raise them,” and individual-group identification.
However, I assume it probably will reach the generation that grew up at the “wrong time.” It will occupy a bright place in cinema’s scale, and will be talked about just like Seven, with its cast, story, surprises, and astounding camera. Fight Club is one of 1999’s best films. However, remember the warning: “Restricted: Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.”
- Michael Skeet, “Fight Club: An effective, incisive movie.” See: http://infoculture. cbc.ca/archives/filmtv/filmtv_10191999_ fightclub.phtml
- Aksiyon, 263 (December 1999).