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(en) Review: Fight Club - WS60

From Workers Solidarity Movement <wsm@newmail.net>
Date Thu, 19 Oct 2000 14:32:29 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

>From Ainriail - the Irish Anarchist list

Review: Out on Video: Fight Club
              20th Century Fox

At the beginning of Fight Club, the unnamed
narrator is cracking up. His job is meaningless,
his life is empty, and his attempts to fill it
by accumulating stuff - Ikea furniture, Calvin
Klein clothes - are failing. His constant
travelling, and acute insomnia, mean he's no
longer sure where, why, or who he is anymore.

He attempts to fill the void by attending
support group meetings for diseases - testicular
cancer, brain parasites - he doesn't have.
There, cocooned by the suffering of the other
members, he finds peace, and is able to sleep
again. But the peace is shattered when another
'tourist' starts attending meetings. Now he
can't release his emotions because the presence
of another spectator makes him conscious of his
own deception - and the insomnia returns. Until
he meets Tyler Durden.

Tyler is everything he isn't - worldly-wise,
good-looking, and amoral. And so when he returns
home to find his apartment ('his life')
destroyed by a gas leak, he moves in to Tyler's
delapidated squat, a million miles from his
plush apartment. And together they start Fight
Club. Fight Club starts small. After a night's
drinking, both realise that they've never been
in a fight, and trade punches. It's painful, but
the pain - unlike his job, his furniture, his
whole life - is real and immediate. Soon the
fights become the focus of their lives, and
others, seeing them, want to join. They don't
fight because of any grudges they hold, or for
the victory. The fight itself is all that
concerns them - a few minutes of direct
experience, not bought or sold, not analysed or
mediated, but real pain, authentic emotion.

For its members, Fight Club is a liberation. For
the rest of the week they have boring and
meaningless jobs, bossed around by their
superiors, but for one night a week they are all
equals. And because of that night of intensity
and adrenaline, everything else becomes
controllable - your boss is no longer
intimidating when he is just another potential

As Fight Club grows, with more and more members
and branches appearing all over the country, so
do Tyler's ambitions. The focus of the club
shifts from the fights, and towards attacks on
the corporate society that created it.
Advertisements are subverted, corporate art and
fast food chains vandalised, until the final
attack on the headquarters of the major credit
card companies, an attempt to wipe everyone's
slate clean.

Fight Club is an anarchist inspiration to some,
fascist propaganda to others, and it's easy to
see why opinions are divided. It's an attack on
the emptiness of consumerism, the way society
robs us of real choice, the void at the heart of
capitalism. But the solution it portrays is just
as bad. The fighters feel real when they fight,
but it's a reality that strips away their

Their equality is fake - Tyler is always the
leader. This becomes more obvious as Fight Club
becomes Project Mayhem, where the first rule is
not to ask questions. The way it explores these
questions would be reason enough to see this
film, but it's also one of the best-looking
films of recent years. Rent it.

Ray Cunningham

This article is from the print version of the Irish
Anarchist paper 'Workers Solidarity'. We also provide
a PDF file of the latest edition for you to print out
and distribute locally

See this and more articles on the web at


>From Irelands's Workers Solidarity Movement

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