Could FIGHT CLUB be one of the most misunderstood films of the past 20 years? Or is this writer just too easily lured into the raw nihilistic urges of his id...we shall find out.
Recently Badassdigest.com posted an essay by relative newcomer FILMCRITHULK, who many will recognize from his highly perceptive, and increasingly witty (for a HULK) twitter account. While his output is always an interesting read and rarely does he miss his mark, I can't help but feel that his point sails wide left, as if booted by Billy Cundiff himself.
Case in Point: FILMCRITHULK v. FIGHT CLUB
In his article, he surmises that David Fincher's lack of understanding of what a satire really is, which I believe to be true, is what undermines the abject adoration of anarchy and nihilism that the audience is induced to feel. However every other aspect of the article (besides the Benjamin Button debacle, "WOOF!") is misguided at best. It's easy to blame Fincher for fetishizing a return to the man of myths, the id at it's extreme. But he goes on to blame David Fincher for the audiences allure to the Tyler Durden within themselves. That is where the central argument can be reduced to ashes.
Of course we love Tyler. Ultimate sin without reprisal...fucking with douchebag assholes by ejaculating into their soup. Heaven indeed. But what does that really say about us? One film is enough to get grown men fighting in alleys and basements across the globe and it's the film? No no no. It's us. All we need is a reason. But we fight it, and when we do it's not really all that exciting.
And then there's the ending…
FILMCRITHULK opines that the ending takes the piss out of the unabashed nihilism that takes up the predominant running time of the film. It seems so obvious to anyone honest with themselves that the very idea of not loving Tyler Durden is laughable. We're all Tyler Durden in a primal, self-destructive way. But just as "Jack" comes to his senses, we must too. That is the challenge. You've been offered a view into a fantasy world that you must deny. For the good of all of us. For the good of the world. It's not a drawn out play of good vs. evil. It's a matter of making a decision. A decision that can present itself at any moment.
The rest of the article is quite good. I agree that "Zodiac" is Fincher's best film to date. I also agree that "Ben Button" was an atonal mess that left me disillusioned and grumpy...
But no mention of "Seven"? "The Game"? "Panic Room"? That is not an adequate analysis of a filmmaker. That's 50% of his entire filmography!
Well, as always I look forward to the next article FILMCRITHULK has to offer, but I would love a follow up piece that explored the other unspoken Fincher titles. Until then.
To be continued...