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Fight Club is a 1999 American film directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter. It is based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. Norton plays the unnamed narrator, who is discontented with his white-collar job. He forms a "fight club" with soap salesman Tyler Durden (Pitt), and becomes embroiled in a relationship with a mysterious woman, Marla Singer (Bonham Carter).
On a flight home from a business trip, the Narrator meets Tyler Durden, a soap salesman, who tells him he is trapped by consumerism. The Narrator's apartment and all of his belongings are destroyed by an explosion, so he moves into Tyler's dilapidated house in an industrial area. The two start having consensual fistfights in the parking lot of a bar, which attracts other men and eventually leads to the formation of Fight Club, which meets in the bar's basement. Marla overdoses on pills while the Narrator ignores her phone call for help, but Tyler saves her and they begin a sexual relationship.
We're designed to be hunters and we're in a society of shopping. There's nothing to kill anymore, there's nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore. In that societal emasculation this everyman [the Narrator] is created.
The Narrator, an unreliable narrator, is not immediately aware that he is mentally projecting Tyler. He also mistakenly promotes the fight clubs as a way to feel powerful, though the Narrator's physical condition worsens while Tyler Durden's appearance improves. While Tyler desires "real experiences" of actual fights like the Narrator at first, he manifests a nihilistic attitude of rejecting and destroying institutions and value systems. His impulsive nature, representing the id, is seductive and liberating to the Narrator and the members of Project Mayhem. Tyler's initiatives and methods become dehumanizing; he orders around the members of Project Mayhem with a megaphone similar to camp directors at Chinese re-education camps. The Narrator pulls back from Tyler and arrives at a middle ground between his conflicting selves.
The violence of the fight clubs serves not to promote or glorify combat, but for participants to experience feeling in a society where they are otherwise numb. The fights represent a resistance to the impulse to be "cocooned" in society. Norton believed the fighting strips away the "fear of pain" and "the reliance on material signifiers of their self-worth", leaving them to experience something valuable. When the fights evolve into revolutionary violence, the film only half-accepts the revolutionary dialectic by Tyler Durden; the Narrator pulls back and rejects Durden's ideas. Fight Club purposely shapes an ambiguous message whose interpretation is left to the audience. Fincher said: "I love this idea that you can have fascism without offering any direction or solution. Isn't the point of fascism to say, 'This is the way we should be going'? But this movie couldn't be further from offering any kind of solution."
The fight scenes were heavily choreographed, but the actors were required to "go full out" to capture realistic effects such as having the wind knocked out of them. Makeup artist Julie Pearce, who had worked for Fincher on the 1997 film The Game, studied mixed martial arts and pay-per-view boxing to portray the fighters accurately. She designed an extra's ear to have cartilage missing, inspired by the boxing match in which Mike Tyson bit off part of Evander Holyfield's ear. Makeup artists devised two methods to create sweat on cue: spraying mineral water over a coat of Vaseline, and using the unadulterated water for "wet sweat". Meat Loaf, who plays a fight club member who has "bitch tits", wore a 90-pound (40 kg) fat harness that gave him large breasts. He also wore eight-inch (20 cm) lifts in his scenes with Norton to be taller than him.
Fight Club was filmed mostly at night, and Fincher filmed the daytime shots in shadowed locations. The crew equipped the bar's basement with inexpensive work lamps to create a background glow. Fincher avoided stylish camerawork when filming early fight scenes in the basement and instead placed the camera in a fixed position. In later fight scenes, Fincher moved the camera from the viewpoint of a distant observer to that of the fighter.
Marketing executives at Fox Searchlight Pictures faced difficulties in marketing Fight Club and at one point considered marketing it as an art film. They considered that the film was primarily geared toward male audiences because of its violence and believed that not even Pitt would attract female filmgoers. Research testing showed that the film appealed to teenagers. Fincher refused to let the posters and trailers focus on Pitt and encouraged the studio to hire the advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy to devise a marketing plan. The firm proposed a bar of pink soap with the title "Fight Club" embossed on it as the film's main marketing image; the proposal was considered "a bad joke" by Fox executives. Fincher also released two early trailers in the form of fake public service announcements presented by Pitt and Norton; the studio did not think the trailers marketed the film appropriately. Instead, the studio financed a $20 million large-scale campaign to provide a press junket, posters, billboards, and trailers for TV that highlighted the film's fight scenes. The studio advertised Fight Club on cable during World Wrestling Federation broadcasts, which Fincher protested, believing that the placement created the wrong context for the film. Linson believed that the "ill-conceived one-dimensional" marketing by marketing executive Robert Harper largely contributed to Fight Club's lukewarm box office performance in the United States.
Cineaste's Gary Crowdus reviewed the critical reception in retrospect: "Many critics praised Fight Club, hailing it as one of the most exciting, original, and thought-provoking films of the year." He wrote of the negative opinion, "While Fight Club had numerous critical champions, the film's critical attackers were far more vocal, a negative chorus which became hysterical about what they felt to be the excessively graphic scenes of fisticuffs ... They felt such scenes served only as a mindless glamorization of brutality, a morally irresponsible portrayal, which they feared might encourage impressionable young male viewers to set up their own real-life fight clubs in order to beat each other senseless."
Following Fight Club's release, several fight clubs were reported to have started in the United States. A "Gentleman's Fight Club" was started in Menlo Park, California, in 2000 and had members mostly from the tech industry. Teens and preteens in Texas, New Jersey, Washington state, and Alaska also initiated fight clubs and posted videos of their fights online, leading authorities to break up the clubs. In 2006, an unwilling participant from a local high school was injured at a fight club in Arlington, Texas, and the DVD sales of the fight led to the arrest of six teenagers. An unsanctioned fight club was also started at Princeton University, where matches were held on campus. The film was suspected of influencing Luke Helder, a college student who planted pipe bombs in mailboxes in 2002. Helder's goal was to create a smiley pattern on the map of the United States, similar to the scene in Fight Club in which a building is vandalized to have a smiley on its exterior. On July 16, 2009, a 17-year-old who had formed his own fight club in Manhattan was charged with detonating a homemade bomb outside a Starbucks Coffee shop in the Upper East Side. The New York City Police Department reported the suspect was trying to emulate "Project Mayhem".
Fight Club had a significant impact on evangelical Christianity, in the areas of Christian discipleship and masculinity. A number of churches called their cell groups "fight clubs" with a stated purpose of meeting regularly to "beat up the flesh and believe the gospel of grace". Some churches, especially Mars Hill Church in Seattle, whose pastor Mark Driscoll was obsessed with the film, picked up the film's emphasis on masculinity, and rejection of self-care. Jessica Johnson suggests that Driscoll even called on "his brothers-in-arms to foment a movement not unlike Project Mayhem."
In 2003, Fight Club was listed as one of the "50 Best Guy Movies of All Time" by Men's Journal. In 2004 and 2006, Fight Club was voted by Empire readers as the eighth and tenth greatest film of all time, respectively. Total Film ranked Fight Club as "The Greatest Film of our Lifetime" in 2007 during the magazine's tenth anniversary. In 2007, Premiere selected Tyler Durden's line, "The first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club," as the 27th greatest movie line of all time. In 2008, readers of Empire ranked Tyler Durden eighth on a list of the 100 Greatest Movie Characters. Empire also identified Fight Club as the 10th greatest movie of all time in its 2008 issue The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.
In 2010, two viral mash-up videos featuring Fight Club were released. Ferris Club was a mash-up of Fight Club and the 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It portrayed Ferris as Tyler Durden and Cameron as the narrator, "claiming to see the real psychological truth behind the John Hughes classic". The second video Jane Austen's Fight Club also gained popularity online as a mash-up of Fight Club's fighting rules and the characters created by 19th-century novelist Jane Austen.
Fight Club is a 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk. It follows the experiences of an unnamed protagonist struggling with insomnia. Inspired by his doctor's exasperated remark that insomnia is not suffering, the protagonist finds relief by impersonating a seriously ill person in several support groups. Then he meets a mysterious man named Tyler Durden and establishes an underground fighting club as radical psychotherapy. 781b155fdc