Watching movies for class rocks.
From the opening credits, Fight Club alludes to the unrepresentable. As the names spin off into gaseous clouds, what appears to be the universe swirls within the biologic make-up of Edward Norton’s character, yet one would think that the character would exist somewhere within the Universe. So, where does the Universe begin or end? Does it start with human perception or is human perception a byproduct of the Universe? Ooooh, the questions stew already.
In the opening scene, perspective shifts from within Norton’s character’s body, through the gun, and into Pitt’s character’s point of view. Perspective then leaves both characters (or halves of one character) and the camera travels out of body altogether. Now the point of view becomes that of the movie viewers? as we get a voyeuristic view of the explosives below the city. Throughout the morphing POV, we never fully know where one begins and another ends.
Cut to Bob’s boobs. Is he still a man with no balls and full breasts? What essentially makes a man “manly” if not the biological pieces and parts? Can comfort be derived from any breasts but a mother’s or lover’s? Norton says yes.
Then we back up. The beginning of the movie isn’t the beginning as we traditionally know it. “Nothing is real. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy.” And here, Baudrillard. Really, need I say more? Norton is a copy of himself on many levels. Stuck in the marketing galaxy, “What kind of dining set defines me as a person?” What else does?
Playing Cornelius and other “characters” so he can cry and sleep like a baby, where does Norton?s character end and his others begin? He dies and is reborn with each new meeting. But who dies and who is reborn? Cornelius, Tyler Durden?
Pitt’s image flashes in several scenes, spliced into a single frame at the hospital, the testicular cancer meeting, when Marla walks off supposedly forever. Later, we learn that Tyler splices frames between reels at the theater. Does he create himself then? Has Norton’s character created him?
Do events shape us or do we shape them? Do we own things or do they own us? Half asleep, half awake? Reality enters dreams, dream enters reality? Half alive, half dead? Not quite whole but not fully cleaved in half? Somewhere between life and death lies meaning.
“It was on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Tyler and I just gave it a name.”
“First rule of Fight Club? You do not talk about Fight Club.”
Coincidentally, that’s the second rule too.
“It wasn’t about words.”
We’re back to the failure of language again. Instead, the sublime is the pleasure derived from the pain of pummeling and being pummeled.
“Nothing was solved when the fight was over, but nothing mattered.”
“This was freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.”
The car wreck: All I could think of were the Futurists. Historically, not just in the movie, a car launches into a ditch and gives birth to four survivors who create a Modern movement infatuated with technology, speed and chaos.
“Let go of everything you think you know about life…”
You can’t explain the unexplainable, sublime. Familiar themes akin to Wnnterson’s novel Written on the Body… Marla: Love as invasive. Love as pure desire. Love as a bridesmaid dress loved for only one day and then thrown aside. Narrating organs in books left by a recluse. Cancer of the prostrate will kill. Combination of form: Movie – documentary – porn – and back again. Characters talk to themselves on screen, then they turn to the audience and talk to … ME! I have just become the object of two subjects. How beautifully postmodern.
Capitalism: The democratization of art becomes public taste governed by money. To free our identity from being defined by our stuff and our menial jobs that make us slaves to purchasing more stuff, Capitalism must be destroyed.
Then the biggie: Dueling subjects. One fights the other for power. Can there ever be two, particularly when they share one body? According to the smoking gun, the answer is no.
I could continue with the play-by-play but we’re all watching the same thing. Suffice it to say, I loved this movie the first two times I saw it. I have a renewed appreciation this third time. Now excuse me while I retire the keyboard and get back to the milk and cookies.