Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Sep 30 2003

[Ed Norton holding soap]

So. I watched Fight Club Saturday night.

I think it’s one of the best films ever made. A classic. And not because I agree with it, though agreeing with it isn’t really the point, I think.

One of the things I appreciated about it was that it’s a black comedy. It’s not a serious moral fable. It has its serious side, of course, as all good comedy does. But, first and foremost, it’s a funny flick. That keeps the movie from becoming self-righteous.

I also appreciated that it contains some real, serious philosophy. And much of it is stated, right there, on the screen. Tyler says, “Our generation has had no Great Depression, no Great War. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives. We were raised on television to believe that we’d all be millionares, movie gods, rock stars, but we won’t. And we’re starting to figure that out. And it’s making us pissed off.”

Some of it is a little more subtle. After threatening to kill a man unless he pursues his life’s dream, and the man gurgles agreement then runs off, Tyler murmurs, “Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessell’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal he has ever eaten.” It’s a glimpse into Tyler’s mind. This is why he does all these crazy things; not for the thrill, but because he wants to make all men truly live.

It reminds me of the Bene Gesserit idea of humanity in Dune, that not every homo sapiens really deserves to be called a human being. Many people live humdrum lives, never reaching, never pursuing, never fulfilling their potential. Humans not only can reach for the heavens, they should. That’s part of what makes us human, that creative impulse to build greatness where possible.

That’s much of the philosophy behind Fight Club. Are you the man you want to be? Well, why not? What’s stopping you?

It’s also a fascinating perspective. The whole film, practically, is one man’s perspective. Some of that perspective is warped and wrong. Some is so right it hurts. It’s a full, three-dimensional perspective on life, and it’s a privilege to hold it up to the light and consider all its facets.

Great film.

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