Background InformationRelease date: 12 November 1999 (UK) Distributed by: 20th Century FoxBudget: $63m (estimated)Opening Weekend: $11,035,485 (USA)(17 October 1999) (1963 Screens)Gross: $71m (Worldwide) (except USA)Based on the 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk – Choke, Rant, Invisible Monsters – hypotextuality? Jim Uhls (screenplay)Hollywood Cast: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter ‘Fincher intended Fight Clubs violence to serve as a metaphor for the conflict between a generation of young people and the value system of advertising.’‘The narrator cannot find happiness, so he travels on a path to enlightenment in which he must "kill" his parents, his god, and his teacher. At the start of the film, he has killed his parents. With Tyler Durden, he kills his god by doing things they are not supposed to do. To complete the process of maturing, the narrator has to kill his teacher, Tyler Durden.’
Genre/TrailerFight Club is listed under Drama / Mystery / Thriller, but it also has amixture of elements from other genres such as; violence/action,psychological/philosophical, allegoric anthropology, bildungsroman andeven romance. It also displays comedy, such as when the members of FightClub are set a task of starting a fight with a stranger in the street. Thissupports Levi-Strauss’ idea of bricolage that ‘any text is constructed out ofsocially recognisable ‘debris’ from other texts’.Trailers:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8PRC3HbWqohttp://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi781228825/‘Starting a fight’:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss9HhiReXmE
BaudrillardFrom simulacrum Baudrillard formed the idea of‘hyperreality’This is reflected from Fight Club as Tyler is aproduct of creation from the protagonist – noone else can see him but we can
Confusion over good and bad charactersThere are no sides – debatable on who is correctand who isn’t
Breaking the fourth wallBreaks fourth wall a lot, reminding the audience that this is just a film, such as when the narrator talks about what Tyler does as jobs and when Tyler gives a speech about consumerism –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo- wkv8gW6k
Nameless protagonistThe protagonist’s name is never mentioned, although it is implied that he is called Jack from the repetition of the saying ‘I am Jack’s ___’; e.g. ‘I am Jacks Raging Bile Duct. I am Jacks Cold Sweat. I Am Jacks Complete Lack of Surprise I Am Jacks Smirking Revenge. I Am Jacks Broken Heart’In the credits of the film and in the book he’s just referred to as ‘The Narrator’ which emphasises the breaking of the fourth wall. It also links us as an audience to the character as he is portrayed as an ‘everyman’ who is trapped in a cycle of consumerism, letting us find it easy to relate to him.
FlashbacksThere are flashbacks to describe who Tyler is and what he has done in the past. These are used in a lot of postmodern films, such as Inglourious Basterds when the ‘Bear Jew’ is introduced. These are used to add more context to characters who are mentioned during the narrative or dialogue between characters at the time.The scenes with Tyler were described by Fincher as "more hyper-real in a torn-down, deconstructed sense—a visual metaphor of what [the narrator is] heading into".
MetafictionMetafiction is also used when we see that Tyler works ina projection booth editing 35mm reels by inserting pornclips. This is also done with Fight Club itself puttingsubliminal clips of Tyler in.‘The scenes with Tyler Durden were staged to concealthat the character was a mental projection of thenameless narrator… Tyler appears in the background andout of focus, like a "little devil on the shoulder". Fincherexplained the subliminal frames: "Our hero is creatingTyler Durden in his own mind, so at this point he existsonly on the periphery of the narrators consciousness.“
Comedic elementsNarrator’s voice is pretty much always monotonous which sometimes juxtaposes with what is being shown on screen. He’s also very sarcastic.‘With a gun barrel between your teeth you only speak in vowels’ … ‘For a second I totally forgot about Tylers whole controlled demolition thing and I wonder how clean that gun is. ‘ ‘God Damn! We just had a near-life experience, fellas’ ‘This is Bob. Bob has bitch tits.’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNS0tqRSGRA
Confusions over time and spaceThe protagonist travels around the world swiftly, inexpensively and possibly. This is shown when he tries to find Tyler Durden and he finds a number of plane tickets and travels to all of those places via plane in a number of shots. Considering his house has blown up, we’re unsure of the possibility to travel to those number of places as well as all in the ‘same’ time span.
IntertextualityReferences to the IKEA catalogue – blurs the lines between the seriousness and the comicPastiche – no sense of a distance from any norm. This could be applied to Fight Club as there is a strong sense of realism along with the decline of the meta-narrative but also that because of the flashbacks and breaking the fourth wall it highlights aspects of melodrama, letting us know it is just a film.When Tyler shouts ‘Run Forrest, Run!’ – Forrest GumpReferences to Mona Lisa - "Nothing is static. Even the Mona Lisa is falling apart.“Calvin Klein adverts – ‘is that what a real man looks like?’
AppearancesJared Leto – ‘Angel Face’ – “I wanted to destroysomething beautiful”Meat Loaf – Robert Paulson“Weve all been raised on television to believe thatone day wed all be millionaires, and movie gods,and rock stars. But we wont. And were slowlylearning that fact. And were very, very pissed off.”
Decline of the meta-narrativeCharacters tend to say ‘absolute truths’ in the film, such as Tyler when he talks of making soap and the narrator when he talks about the formulas for car accidents.Reflects society as we like to ‘hand pick’ the truths.‘You know why they put oxygen masks on planes? Narrator: So you can breathe. Tyler Durden: Oxygen gets you high. In a catastrophic emergency, youre taking giant panicked breaths. Suddenly you become euphoric, docile. You accept your fate. Its all right here. Emergency water landing - 600 miles an hour. Blank faces, calm as Hindu cows. Narrator: Thats, um... Thats an interesting theory.’
TaglinesHow much can you know about yourself if youve never been in a fight?When you wake up in a different place at a different time, can you wake up as a different person?Losing all hope is freedomMischief. Mayhem. Soap.Works great even on blood stains.
TriviaIn the scene where Tyler is giving an inspirational speech to the Fight Club members, he says "Weve all been raised on television to believe that one day wed all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars." Right as he says "rock star" at 1:11:00, he looks specifically at Jared Letos character. Jared Leto formed the band 30 Seconds to Mars in 1998. Their last album went platinum.Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) was originally going to recite a workable recipe for home-made explosives (as he does in the novel). But in the interest of public safety, the filmmakers decided to substitute fictional recipes for the real ones.The reverse-tracking shot out of the trash can, an elaborate digitally animated sequence, was the very last shot to be added to the film. It required so much processing time that it almost had to be spliced in "wet" - i.e., fresh from the lab - so that the film could be duplicated on schedule. Due to the amount of reflective surfaces in the shot, it took almost 8 hours to render a single frame. The entire shot took 3 weeks to render.In the short scene when Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are drunk and hitting golf balls, they really are drunk, and the golf balls are sailing directly into the side of the catering truck."We decided early on that I would start to starve myself as the film went on, while [Brad Pitt] would lift and go to tanning beds; he would become more and more idealized as I wasted away.“ —Edward Norton
Buddhism‘All right, if the applicant is young, tell him hes tooyoung. Old, too old. Fat, too fat. If the applicantthen waits for three days without food, shelter, orencouragement he may then enter and begin histraining.’Tyler mentions this to the protagonist. It is takenfrom a Buddhist tradition of practising meditation.Fight Club carries three traits of the Buddhist faith;existence, rebirth and nirvana.
Existence – must become detached from material comforts in order to attainNirvana – after his condo is blown up, he moves to a house which is literallyfalling apart.Rebirth – lets go when his condo is blown up and becomes more like Tyler.Attending support groups allows him to be reborn every night when he criesand sleeps. When realising they are the same person, the protagonist blew uphis own condo and exiled to a life of simplicity.Raymond is another character who is reborn when he is held at gunpoint byTyler and then runs away to train to become a veterinarian.Nirvana – no characters actually reach it, but attempt to all the while. They donot meditate put Fight Club can be seen as a version of meditation for them –self induced punishments.
Contrapuntal music – ‘Picking fights’, ‘Where is my mind?’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DDZEdkoaY4&feature=relatedIf you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wakeup as a different person?Only after disaster can we be resurrected.Hey, you created me. I didnt create some loser alter-ego to makemyself feel better. Take some responsibility!Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessles life.His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever had.When you have insomnia, youre never really asleep... and yourenever really awake.