Fight Club (1999)


A yuppie comes under the influence of an enigmatic stranger who encourages him to shed the trappings of modern consumerist life and begin an underground bare knuckle boxing club to rediscover his manhood.

The 1990’s created a whole generation of nihilistic smart alecs who found their standard bearer in Tyler Durden. Fight Club was a bit of a phenomenon upon its release and it seemed to speak to the the disenfranchised youth of Generation X in a way that nothing had before and being one such example, I hailed it as a masterpiece as did many others. Looking back, it’s really far more a smug indie comedy than serious drama and I can’t quite believe that anyone really took it seriously. It was for all intents and purposes the death knell of said generation even though we didn’t really see it at the time; Chuck Palahniuk was in fact showing us the ultimate futility of that way of thinking. It’s amusing how a charismatic self-styled guru can create such a cult of personality – which is no doubt how many forms of organised extremism find their way into existence – and Brad Pitt cuts a very imposing and frankly hilarious figure as Tyler. In fact the whole thing smacks of the kind of creativity in all areas that we rarely see in mainstream cinema and as such is still well worth seeing.

But I can’t help feeling that Fight Club was itself the logical extension of Project Mayhem; a practical joke that people took far too seriously.



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