Challenging the Canon: Fight Club
by Brogan Morris
To begin, I’ll let on that I’m a huge fan of David Fincher; I dig The Game, I enjoy Alien 3 and I even think that the one about Brad Pitt aging in reverse is a glorious example of adult fairytale-telling. I don’t consider it hyperbolic but more realistic to say that Fincher, along with Paul Thomas Anderson and Richard Linklater, is currently the voice of American cinema. The reasons are numerous, but for me can be boiled down to: Seven, Panic Room, Zodiac, The Social Network and, yes, even The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (if you’re going to rehash Forrest Gump, you may as well do it right). But Fight Club…well, that’s a different story.
Amidst all Fincher’s gothic visions, there’s often a humanist root to be found in the gloom, a conscientious connection – personified in a basically ‘good’ character - allowing us as viewers to relate. Seven has Detective Somerset, Zodiac has Dave Toschi and The Social Network has Eduardo Saverin. Fight Club has no one: everyone in its twisted world of men dealing with existential angst through pugilistic rage ranges from unlikable to downright irredeemable – The Narrator (Edward Norton) is neurotic and intentionally uninteresting, his alter-ego Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) is a mindless nihilist, while all of their Fight Club compatriots are zombies present only to serve Fincher’s satirical vision. What technique there is on display fails to make up for the film’s lack of soul.
Click here to read the rest of Brogan’s wrestling of the praised David Fincher film.