Fight Club


Fight Club Essay, Research Paper

The movie Fight Club, actually more than just a movie, although it made a great achievement in the film industry, also the movie had a great impact on the social system. According to most of the reviewers, the success of the film lies behind the fact that almost every American man over 25-years of age is going to inevitably see some of himself in the movie: the frustration, the confusion, the anger at living in a culture where the old rules have broken down and one makes his way with so many fewer cultural cues and guideposts. At heart ?Fight Club? is really a horror movie about consumerist discontent.

First of all Fight Club was one of the most direct crisis of the modern society actually nowadays the post-modern society. We can visualize the clear criticism of the movie from the words of Jamey Hughton ? “Fight Club” is the kind of breathless experience that chews you up, spits you out, and leaves your senses jaded and disorientated with exhilaration.? Secondly Fight Club was a real evolution of the modern ideals, the emergence of modern atomized individual and consequently urban alienation. Finally, the movie points out male-female roles and the place of violence in the male identity.

The biggest deal of the movie was on the modern society, which is recently turned out just a consumerism. During the movie this new trend is symbolized always by the replica of Tyler Durden ?You are not just what your job is? and the emphasize reached the peak at the scene where Tyler made up the mind of the supermarket employee, by using his gun, to change his job, in fact to be what he wants to be. This dialoged was completely dedicated to the shaping power of the Consumer Culture. The movie is about what happens when a world defines you by nothing but job, when advertising turns you into a slave bowing at a mountain of things that make you uneasy about your lack of physical perfection determined by the consumerism. (As displayed in the scene where Tyler asks after seeing the Celvin Clein advertisement ?is this what a man supposed to looks like? with simultaneous irony and sincerity, of the self-perceived emasculation of working-class white men) And how much money you don’t have and how famous you aren’t. It’s about what happens when you’re hit by the fact that your life lacks uniqueness; a uniqueness that we’re constantly told we gained through the enculturation process. At that part Fincher was underlying the unseen patterns of the society: ?you are not free; since you are not free to choose: Sure there is choices in front of you but the results are determined by the supreme power of the Hegemony, gain more money to obtain acceptance from the society.

However that was not the only criticism, during the movie the director took us to the realm of the commodification, especially in the scene where Jack buys his new furniture like all of his cooperates made. The scene was very impressive since it made us feel the pace of the consumption, the impacts of the advertisement, which are offering us impossible: fame, beauty, wealth, immortality, life without pain, on the consumption patterns. He looks at Ikea catalogs and wonders what dinner set defines him as a person. Jack was consuming at the same speed with the advertisement and was not able to stop himself, even though he hardly needs the things he bought. At that point we have seen the emergence of the Marx? concept the commodity fetishism. Moreover, as he says ?now I have everything what a middle class man can? he points out that the whole event was nothing more than the ?conspicuous consumption?.

After the improvement of the new industrial era and consequently the invention of new transportation facilities, the modern society created it?s own atomized single individual, which is a logical necessity of the system itself. The character of the Edward Norton a man, who is bored with his white-collar job and his mail orders, was the typical example of the event. The emphasis on the world ?one time, single? at the scenes during the travel, about foods and about passengers, shows the lost in the importance of the individual, apart from the context determined by the society itself. When Jack was talking about his job during the flight he acknowledged that the humans are nothing but numbers, showed in the statistics.

“You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile… Our culture has made us all the same. No one is truly white or black or rich, anymore. We all want the same. Individually, we are nothing.” With the speech Tyler screams the bare reality of the alienated 20-century man.

The unimportant atomized individual, who works for the existence and improvement of the system, is alienated from society, from every aspects of the society; the public sphere is collapsed by the consumerism of our era. Jack was one of such persons, he was suffering from the insomnia since he was not able to recharge himself by the common human methods, and he even did not have a friend to cry on the shoulder. The only heroine he was able to use was the support groups, especial the one, testicular cancer support group, only after participating in these support groups he was able to fall in sleep. In fact these groups was the only place, he feels himself as apart of the organic whole, part of the society. (Not the modern society) He was the individual left alone with his commodities and insomnia.

Another criticism of the movie was on the gender roles of modern society, as it was symbolized with high level of irony in the scene where Jack meets Bob, an overly obese man with gigantic breasts, who was a champion bodybuilder before. Fincher is pointing out the change of the modern male from the old powerful violent man to the castrated male who is following the Christian teaching and avoiding from fight. The struggle of Bob to be a member of the Fight Club was the struggle of the homo-sapiens man living in a sterile, minimum-wage existence dictated by long periods of peace, boring repetitive work, low wages, and an increasingly independent woman. Man is like a jungle-beast asked to do servant-like duties, in a more and more servant-like society. “The goal [of violence] was to teach each man in the project that he had the power to control history. We, each of us, can take control of the world.” Says Tyler and points out the importance of ritualized violence in the structure of male identity.

Although as a whole the movie looks like an anti-conformist Hollywood product, when we investigate the movie we can see the conformist parts of it. Where we see the clear reflections of the American society. First, although during the movie the obsession of the American society is criticized, especially in the first scene when jack says ?I was wondering how clean Tyler?s gun was? when Tyler was holding his gun in his mouth. During the movie we have seen him brushing his toots. Secondly, despite the criticism of the contemporary American consumerism, they insistently used condoms. Thirdly, even though the rebel against the technology that makes the male it?s slave, they used computers in the organization of fight club. Finally, although they hold a position of the before determined structures and authorities, they used black uniforms and shaved heads in the formation of fight club.

As a result of these we can conclude that the movie was criticizing the contemporary American society within the culture itself, so some points escaped from the magnitude of Fincher. Moreover, since the so called anti-hero of the film made his mind at the end and tried to stop his own creature, which is started to breath by himself now, we can deduce that the film was an conformist product, using the attractive mask of anti-conformism.

The most difficult part of the task was to compare-contrast the movie with the Turkish culture, since although Turkey is experiencing the same post-modernization process, and suffering in some levels from consumerism; alienation and commodity fetishisms, etc, the change in the levels of them makes it very difficult in Turkey. However, we can say that in Turkey the support groups do not have a place, for the family and patrimonial ties still exist strongly. Moreover, we can claim that because of the past-cultural experience the Christian teaching, commends to give other chick, do not exist. So, we can imagine that the first homework of Tyler Durden ?Go and fight with a foreigner? -unlike it was in the movie- will be no problem at all.


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