Fight Club (1999)- David Fincher

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  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 04-06-13 21:41

Fight Club (1999)- David Fincher

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-  Mental illness (insomnia, psychoanalysis) - opening credits show the fear pathway

-   Explicit  violence (Jack fights with himself physically and metaphorically)

-  Gender

-  Capitalism- controversial

-  Non-diegetic voice over (unreliable, we live in the mind of a psychotic)

-  No identity- Jack is nameless (we only know him through the voiceover), different name tags, in Project Mayhem they are nameless

-  Harsh resolution

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Cult Status

-   Films with  small fanbase- although after DVD release Fight Club was successful

-  Challenge coherent storytelling (non-linear narrative, unreliable narrator, breaking the 4th wall)

-  Daring themes (capitalism, mental health)

-  Black comedy elements (Bob’s ***** ****)

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Psychoanalytical approach

Tyler Durden could be described as the 'Id'

· The personality which encourages one to perform reckless and mischievous actions.

·  Is attractive, powerful, care-free, sexually dominant (mise-en-scene of jazzy coloured costume and red leather jacket contrasting to Jack’s grey work suit)- “looks like you want to look, ***** like you want to ****”.

·  As the film progresses, we see this personality strengthen and begin to gain control over Edward Norton's 'Ego'. Towards the end, Tyler disappears completely, suggesting that the Id has completely replaced the Ego as the dominant personality.  

The Super-Ego acts as a ground for the Narrator to find his morals and his place within society (beginning with the support groups, then the fight clubs after the Narrator meets Tyler, and concluding with Project Mayhem).    

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1) Where Tyler first sleeps with Marla is a good example of identifying each personality's morals and goals.  When Jack speaks to Marla on the phone he immediately rejects her and leaves; however Tyler, the Id, is driven solely by pleasure, and begins an affair with her.  This is early in the film, and shows the Id as a pleasure-fulfilling personality.  

2) When Jack shots himself he is trying to regain himself and his Ego; high pitched ringing sound signals his state of equilibrium.

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Trade marks such as:

- Wide shots

- Low key lighting and colour palette

- Enhanced diegetic sound (punching)

- Violence

- Worked alongside Brad Pitt several times

Institution- The studio pressured Fincher to change aspects of the films design, casting and production.

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Fincher relies on pre-conceived stereotypes of gender - Marla, is objectified frequently by Tyler ("Sport Fuck") and the theory that all men are violent and brutal. (Logan Philips)  

-  Marla Singer is the only lead female character in the film (male based) and she also represents the female version of both Jack and Tyler. As an audience we are exposed to two sides of Marla - the softer side when she is with Tyler and her fierce side when she is with Jack. She represents all women, as well as Jack's mother, as Tyler represents his absent father.

- Marla is not typically feminine (amplified sound of her footsteps gives us pre-imaginings of a typical female character, which contrasts to her actual character and dark costume, covered eyes wearing sunglasses- mysterious)

- Marla helps to reveal that Jack and Tyler are the same person to audiences and to Jack himself.  

- Chloe is the only other female character which is given any focus - She has had everything taken away from her and all she desires is sex, which is a basic human desire. (The role of women is very sex based, like Marla)

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- Men are feminised- satirical representation of Bob (***** ****, crying, cannot work nor provide for his family), disempowered job, weak (support group)

-  Played by Brad Pitt (masculine star)

- Male aspiration figure (attractive, powerful, care-free, sexually dominant- RELATE TO ID)

- Remaining men together- testicular cancer group, Fight Club

- Uses violence and the Fight Club to gain masculinity (amplified punching sounds)- Jack becomes empowered when he meets Tyler

- In the end Jack becomes the typical ‘hero’ by protecting Marla’s safety and taking responsibility, somewhat

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Cultural- Capitalism

Jack is materialistic- IKEA sequence- tracking shot of the apartment- expressed Jack in materialistic ways (forms a mutual knowledge about brands and interest between character and audience)

- Breaking into the liposuction clinic to make and sell soap back to shops (ironic)

- Jack has a miserable American job- Tyler threatens the shop keeper to go to University and pursue his dream job)

Project Mayhem tries to escape from capitalist ideals but ends up conforming to them

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