An adaptation of a novel of the same name authored by Chuck Palahniuk in 1996, the American film “Fight Club” was released three years later in 1999. This uniquely grotesque storyline was brought to life on the big screen by director David Fincher and some of Hollywood’s most profound actors; Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter. The box office disappointment raised the eyebrows of critics as “Fight Club” became the most controversially talked about films. According to academic critics, the 1999 film portrays instances of consumerism and European fascism.
The film’s main characters; the nameless narrator (Norton), an employee of a travelling automobile company suffers from insomnia, Tyler Durden (Pitt), a soap salesman, who is a figment of the nameless narrator’s imagination and Marla Singer (Carter), a drug addict who ends up as the narrator’s love interest. The doctor of the nameless narrator refuses to treat his insomniac condition with medication, but instead refers him to visit support groups to watch other people’s suffering.
The narrator did just that, he went to a variety of support groups inclusive of a group for testicular cancer victims. He pretended to be a victim and to his surprise found emotional relief. It was at one of these meetings that he came across Marla Singer who was an imposter like himself. He negotiated with her to avoid meeting at the same place (Fight Club Film).
Upon his return from a business trip, he discovered that his condo had been destroyed by fire. He was devastated. Luckily for him, he had met Tyler Durden on the flight home, a homemade soap salesman who was able to host the homeless narrator at his rundown apartment.
Twistedly, the severity of the narrator’s illness made him unaware that Tyler was a personality he created in his head and that this personality was on a mission to put an end to commercialism by whatever means. They are in fact disassociated personalities trapped in the same body.
The minute the narrator is asleep; Tyler takes advantage and begins to dominate his body. In one scene, outside a club, Tyler requested that the narrator hit him and they both engaged in a fist fight. It started to get habitual for both men to have fist fights outside the club which started to draw spectators who later became members. That was the birth of the fight club and all the mayhem of this movie (Kozlowski)
The many concepts of sociology are related to the many interactions and development of people. The movie provided a lot of occurrences where sociological concepts were expressed and this gave the movie some amount of substance. Five most represented sociological concepts of the movie includes; violence, groups, consumerism, commercialism and fascism.
The concept of violence was an ever present in the movie. It was used to convey and at the same time act as a symbolic metaphor of the conflict between generations and the advertised norms and folkways of society. In other words, the conflict between the generations and what is ‘expected’ of them.
During the movie, the narrator knows no happiness and engages in the underground men-only boxing club, which may get really violent as a means of expressing himself. Viewers may notice also that at the start of the movie, the mentally ill narrator killed his parents, and with the influence of Tyler Durden “killed” his God and then he killed Tyler Durden who was his teacher.
The narrator never ideally fit into any groups in society. He felt somewhat alienated and defeated. He is desperately trying to fit in by being something he is not. This explains why he was so riveted in the establishment of the fist fighting group. In this group, shirtless men beat each other in messes of blood.
His life was boring and without meaning, he spent his days at a job he despised and nights ransacking mail order catalogs feverishly trying to give his life some meaning. His illness also leads him to promote the fight club as a way to feel powerful. (Fight Club Fascist).
According to Matthew Briggs’ review on the movie, the concept of consumerism was conveyed at the time of the explosion of the narrator’s condo. The narrator related that the destruction of his condo is not just the destruction of a bunch of things but the destruction of himself as well.
The movie addressed the excessive consumerism as a sign of emotional emptiness and self distinction. The movie portrays him as someone who buys things to fill his emotional voids, because he didn’t have any friends or family. His possessions defined him thus giving him a consumer identity.
Tyler tried to teach the narrator (who by the way is sometimes referred to as Jack) that his possessions and his job doesn’t define him as an individual. The film also asserted the fact that many individuals in society seek to replace spiritual happiness with material possessions.
Fincher’s adaptation of the novel showcased wildly issue of how commercialism and consumerism affected our societies. One of Tyler’s main goals in the film was to put an end to commercialism.
Viewers will notice that the character’s aim had him moving rampantly about in the movie, desperate to and destroying buildings which contained financial records for credit cards in an effort to eliminate society’s debt (Interpretations of fight club).
A fascist concept was also prevalent in the film ‘fight club’ and according to newspeak dictionary, the film is fascist in a sense that the violence portrayed is ideal and above the pre-existing forms of civilizations. This concept is relative to the character Tyler whose vision of the future was to return to an idealized past, not taking into consideration, the problems which that era underwent.
He considers the past as an era that had no corporations; therefore there was no promotion of consumerism. To achieve this, he utilized methods such as violence and destruction.
Not the typical action movie of everyday life, “Fight Club” incorporates many of the sociological issues societies are facing. If the film’s messages are interpreted correctly, the movie can have notably and high sociological value. The storyline can be related to by many individuals who are seeking to find their true identity, are materialistic or even narcissist.
The concepts may not always be expressed positively, but they all flowed cohesively to convey the many messages of the film. Critics bashed the movie because it overstressed the fact that the society was consumerist, but for many people who watch the film, it helps them to feel less inferior to the more accomplished classes of people. It also teaches them that their identity is not defined by their fine Giorgio Armani suit, real estate banker job title, posh condo or their extra fine Lamborghini but instead by who they are inside.
Briggs, Matthew. “America’s consumer club”, n.d. Web. 5 Nov. 2011
“Fight Club Fascist.”, Newspeakdictionary.com, 2005. Web. 5 Nov. 2011
“Fight Club Film”, Wikipedia.org, n.d. Web. 5 Nov. 2011
“Interpretations of fight club”, Wikipedia.org., n.d. Web. 5 Nov. 2011
Kozlowski, Jaime. “The fight club”, Dompse.org, 2007 Web. 5 Nov. 2011