An Analysis of Fight Club Directed by David Fincher

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Directed by David Fincher, Fight Club is a controversial, nihilistic film, delving into the values and beliefs of society. The main character, Jack, reverses his perspective of life upon encountering a man named Tyler Durden. Tyler’s alternate beliefs persuade Jack to change his ideas about himself, people and the values and beliefs society has emplaced upon them. Through these changes in perception accompanied by the appropriate use of aural and visual techniques, the inner journey is explored.

One of these values societies have emplaced upon us is that a person is merely his own wealth and material possessions. This behaviour of materialism is a crucial aspect of Fight Club. At the beginning of the movie, Jack’s apartment is displayed like a page in a furniture catalogue, complete with text blurbs superimposed on the screen showing the horrendous prices of the furniture. He states, “The condo was my life; it wasn’t just material possessions, it was me!” Jack grossly judged himself on his wealth and possessions.

Tyler Durden is the absolute figure against commercialism and materialism. Upon discovering him, Jack learns to believe his philosophy which can be understood through Tyler’s dialogue, he states satirically, “Murder, crime, poverty – these things don’t concern me. What concerns me is celebrity magazines, television with five hundred channels, some guy’s name on my underwear.” Jack’s inner journey begins to evolve from this point on.

It is ironic and symbolic that Tyler sells expensive soap made of discarded fat from liposuction clinics, in Tyler’s words: “We are selling their own fat asses back to them”. This is a good illustration of materialism gone wrong. This issue is compounded in another scene, where Tyler is the solitary figure explaining. “You are not your job, you are not how much money you have in the bank, not the car you drive, not the contents of your wallet. We are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.” The camera zooms in from a mid-shot to a close up of Tyler’s face, this is further enhanced by the shaking screen emphasising the importance of this statement.

Tyler’s last parting words leave a definite impact on the audience, “In the world I see – you’re stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Centre. You will wear leather clothes that last you the rest of your life. You will climb the wrist-think kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. You will see tiny figures pounding corn and laying-strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of the ruins of a superhighway.” It is by this statement that Jack realises the falseness of materialism.

By removing materialism’s manipulation of Jack, he is able to free his mind and shift his journey into a more spiritually enlightening life. Jack is a middle-class worker, disgruntled about being shunned by society. Tyler shares the same feeling, upset that the people valued in life are only those that have prestigious jobs. He describes the others as: “The people you depend on. They cook your meals, handle your trash, connect your calls, drive your ambulances, they guard you when you sleep.” He was trying to get his point across that the workers are also important to society and don’t receive enough respect.

Jack and Tyler manage with these purged feelings by forming a group known as “Fight Club”, an underground raw fighting faction, consisting of other middle-class workers sharing the same frustration. Through this we are able to say that Jack’s inner journey is also experienced by many other middle-class workers. The graphic violence and nauseating digectic sounds in “Fight Club” was not to entertain or amuse, but rather to make a powerful statement. It shows that the members of “Fight Club” have become victims of a dehumanising and cynical society, and the only way they can feel a sense of worth and spiritual value is through the pain inflicted in “Fight Club”.

Throughout the film, Tyler repeatedly explains that we are by no means special. We are created equal, “You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. We are the same decaying organic matter organic as everyone else.” Jack fails to fully conceive this idea made obvious whilst talking to Tyler. This characteristic is illustrated when he is unable to answer Tyler’s question, “If you were to die right now, would you be satisfied with your life? What’s the one thing you want to do before you die?” He scolds Jack for being control-orientated about life and says “Let the chips fall where they may, stop trying to control everything and just let go!”

Fight Club is very closely related to the “American Dream”. The media manipulates people and are misled into thinking the “American Dream” purely rising up ranks and particularly owning materials. However, in Tyler’s eyes, the “American Dream” allows a person with metaphorically nothing to achieve inner satisfaction.

In conclusion, Tyler believes one should be without all the fancy trimmings of materialism, be in touch with oneself and to forget their borings jobs to seek spiritual enlightenment. Jack undergoes all these changes, which makes Fight Club a movie concerning the inner journey.


Cite this paper

An Analysis of Fight Club Directed by David Fincher. (2023, May 22). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/an-analysis-of-fight-club-directed-by-david-fincher/

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