Mr. Cranky Reviews "The Fight Club"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Oct 15 07:25:45 MDT 1999

If you want to convince people that you're a genius, just take a moldering
old idea, slap it into a new package, and don't tell anyone that you stole
it from somebody else.

That's what David Fincher has done with "Fight Club," a neophyte critique
of Western Civilization that owes everything to the century's most
disavowed psychologist, Sigmund Freud. Now, before anybody gets huffy about
how this movie has nothing to do with sleeping with one's mother inside
one's own anus, they should know that there's more to Freud than sex talk.
Namely, a critique of modern society which basically stated that man's
desires were repressed by a culture that forced him to define his
self-worth through arbitrary means. His job, for instance.

What does all of this mean to you, the average moviegoer who's dutifully
paid eight or nine bucks in hopes of seeing Brad Pitt get the living crap
kicked out of him? Not a thing. Try to keep that in mind when Fincher
starts laying his heavy-handed psychology on you. When Tyler Durden (Pitt)
tells Jack (Edward Norton) that he's not the sum of his job or his
apartment or his possessions, and that he can rebel against society by
exercising violent emotions and carnal desires, he might as well have a big
ol' blinking neon sign attached to his forehead, reading

Tyler and Jack form "Fight Club" to exercise some of those desires, and
specifically, to show society how different they are. Unfortunately, they
attract a whole bunch of followers and eventually Fight Club becomes
another insipid mindless horde, not unlike Oprah's Book Club or Kathie
Lee's Child Slave Laborer Support Group. I don't know what kind of
existential crisis Fincher has had recently, but his brand of nihilism
reeks of the blatant commercialism his film supposedly subverts.
Apparently, there are no answers and we're all doomed. My take on the
subject? If there are no answers, why did he waste our time with the stupid
questions in the first place?

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Louis Proyect

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