BY Brennan Backs
You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.
David Fincher’s cult hit FIGHT CLUB (1999) is a film that delves into the nuts and bolts of our corporation led, overly consumerist society. The film plays with many of the deadly sins. Wrath is evident in the physical fight club the film is based around. Pride is displayed in the self-righteous nature of Tyler (Brad Pitt). Lust is played out in the character of Marla (Helena Bonham Carter). However, it is the sin of sloth that holds its own and is the cornerstone of the film’s attack: the dehumanisation of man and the way our society is weighted unfavourably towards the elite.
FIGHT CLUB begins by introducing us to the Narrator and nameless protagonist (Edward Norton). He lives a mundane existence, going from his flat, to work and back to his flat. He sums himself up in his self-diagnosis of insomnia: “you're never really asleep... and you're never really awake”. The film suggests fighting back against the system is the only way to break this cycle and takes the Narrator to a place he has never been before, through a character he had never met: Tyler Durden.
Tyler is the epitome of a man who does what he wants, when he wants and is hell bent on reclaiming the masculinity the world has seemingly lost. Tyler’s character expresses: “We are the middle children of history, man. No purpose of place.” To him, the world has stagnated - it is no longer progressing - and the only way back is to (quite literally) fight against the system that has created the sloth-like culture. To the Narrator, Tyler is the embodiment of what a man should be: masculine, strong willed, a leader and attractive. He recruits a plethora of varying men, trapped in the same way of life as the Narrator is, blindly followed on his quest to quash the sloth-like culture and reclaim the masculinity of men.
Inevitably, Tyler’s methods ramp up, from what was initially a way to vent frustration, becomes a whole new entity, an anarchistic uprising to blow up the big banks and set everything back to zero. At its core, FIGHT CLUB is an inspection of our society and how it stifles, traps and discourages men from truly seeking their potential. As the Narrator states, “I found freedom, losing all hope was freedom”. To find out who we are and to discover what we can achieve, we must first break free from the society that condones and promotes our sloth-like behaviour.
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