The first rule about writing about...no, I’m not going to do it.
The ubiquity of the ‘first rule’ quote from Fight Club, trotted out by every office wit whenever it’s mentioned, is reason enough to hate it.
Granted, this is like blaming Slade for Oasis but I do that too, so I’m comfortable with that.
This epitome of MTV nihilism espouses a hatred of corporations and was produced for 63 million dollars by Fox pictures from a novel written by Chuck Palahniuk who currently releases novels via Doubleday (who are owned by Random House, the biggest publisher on the planet).
It’s often cited as subversive by people who think petty vandalism writ large and Nietzsche interpreted by a concussed toddler is
bringing down The Man (but not ‘Men’. Men are brilliant. It’s women that are clingy, game-playing whores. But more on that later).
Directed by David Fincher, whose CV reads like a catalogue of are-you-fucking-kidding-me (Se7en, the worst serial killer film ever made, Alien 3, the worst Alien film ever made, The Social Network, the worst film about Facebook ever made, etc.), it’s a masterpiece of style over substance, which is ironic given what passes for the film’s message.
Unable to switch off the green filter on his camera, Fincher has nothing to say and takes two and a bastarding half interminable hours to do it. He makes heavy use of the narrative voiceover, ignoring the film-making 101 idea of show-don’t-tell. And definitely don’t tell using Ed Norton’s aural valium of a voice.
Ah, Ed Norton. An actor with all the commanding screen presence of drying paint remaining dry, he looks like Haley Joel Osment on growth hormones. Norton is so forgettable that he has to wear a name tag whilst shaving so he doesn’t think a stranger is attacking him.
Then there’s Tyler Durden – a 14-year-old’s idea of what a cool person acts like. Early on he famously asks Norton “I want you to hit me as hard as you can”. As I entered the second hour of Fight Club I wanted to hit every fucker involved in making it as hard as I could.
I said ‘acts’ previously but with Brad Pitt that’s wrong as the guy is to acting what Jimmy Krankie is to pole vaulting. Example? Okay, go and look at this clip of him on Friends – the kind of populist television that fans of Fight Club would reject as worthless:
What do you see? Well, apart from how hypnotic Jennifer Aniston’s nipples are, you see six sitcom actors who are damned good at their
job and six foot of handsome with a confused look on his stamp like somebody just asked him to translate the Iliad into Hebrew.
There’s an unintentionally hilarious scene in Fight Club where Norton & Pitt look at an underwear model and ask “Is that what a man looks like?” That’s Brad Pitt pondering the question. Yeah, this guy:
And then there’s Marla, the film’s rancid misogyny personified. Marla is a cookie-cutter Manic Pixie Girl for people who like My Chemical Romance. Her purpose is mainly to show how much more MEN can get done without women cluttering up the place with their vaginas and feelings and whatnot.
But wait, there’s a really clever twist – Tyler and Ed Norton (see? So cosmically dull I can’t remember his character’s name and I just finished re-watching the piece of shit film twenty minutes ago) are the same person! Wow! What a brilliant conceit that utterly falls apart like a candy floss crash helmet as soon as you re-watch Fight Club!
Durden and whoever-the-fuck Ed Norton are nothing more than Calvin & Hobbes with no redeeming features for people who love a vicarious wank over violence.
Fight Club has been called a treatise on the masculinity crisis and a satire on consumerism. It’s actually like being lectured at by a first year politics student after his first line of speed in somebody’s grotty bedsit with crappy techno on in the background. Whiny, white, mimsy moaning.
Basically a film about bullies for intellectual midgets, this isn’t a discussion on masculinity, it’s a love song to directionless petulance and is the Bill Hicks of films. I can think of no lower praise than that.