Saturday, September 10, 2005

Movie Review: Fight Club...Six Years On

When it came out in 1999, Fight Club was a weird kind of cult hit, making far more money in DVD sales than it probably ever did at the box office. It was one of those guy films that struck a chord in 20-40 year old males. I didn't see it until a couple of years after it came out, and I think I was drunk at the time, because I didn't get it's central premise, that the film's main character, Tyler Durden, has a split personality.
It was on one of the free movie channels tonight, and even though I had one beer, I was hardly drunk, and I did get it this time. And I finally understood why guys of my Gen X age group, with their insecurities, their fears, and their hemmed in feeling, really liked the film. It really wasn't about fighting, except the metaphorical conflict that takes place in ourselves, and the equally metaphoric desire to destroy that which we identify as keeping us from being truly free. I say metaphorical, because there are a very few number of Gen Xers who blow up credit card companies.
Which brings me to my other observation of the film, which is that it couldn't be made now. Terrorism as a metaphor for rebellion no longer works in the same way as it did in 1999. A line in the film from Tyler--"This is it - ground zero. Would you like to say a few words to mark the occasion?"--just doesn't work for people now. The glib destruction of the current world order to allow everyone to start back at zero has consequences. In the film, the split-personality alter-ego Tyler says that "you have to break some eggs to make an omlette." These words are eerily reminiscent of some of the things Osama bin Laden said.
Seeing this film, I was reminded of the pre-9/11 innocence that allowed slacking Gen Xers to ponder the metaphysical in terms of revolution and violence. It is a great film, no doubt about it, thought provoking, with great acting, and an intelligent script that only becomes more interesting the more you watch it.
Four smilies for this winner. ☻☻☻☻☺

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