Half Empty, Since 1998

Real life is a society ruled by unquestioning faith in the ideals of consumerism. It doesn’t have a Dust Brothers soundtrack and a sixty-million-dollar budget, yet we seem to have found ourselves in the same piteous and deplorable society depicted in Fincher’s nihilistic thriller.

Fight Club: Philosophical Fillibuster

Jared Levine. December 13th, 1999

Unfortunately, real life doesn’t throb with the pulsating intensity of a Dust Brothers soundtrack. Real life doesn’t have a sixty-million-dollar budget. In real life, not a single one of us comes even close to looking or sounding like Brad Pitt (Brad Pitt excluded). And yet, without the budget, without the soundtrack, and worst of all, without Brad, we find ourselves in the same piteous and deplorable society that has been so controversially (and accurately?) depicted in David Fincher’s nihilistic thriller, Fight Club.

Are we merely the contrivance of our corporate overlords? Has our insatiable appetite for consumption developed into something so unrecognizably disfigured? When did excessive consumption become so insufficient? Do we even care? Are you still reading this article? Probably not says Brad Pitt. You probably don’t give a damn. As Pitt’s character, Tyler Durden, will be happy to explain. Our generation doesn’t have a Great War. We don’t have a great depression. Our Great War is a spiritual war and our great depression is our lives. If you think Fight Club probes too deeply into the depths of human nature, examines the hollow values of our society a little too closely, or is simply an exercise of philosophical self-indulgence, well my friend, it may be time for a little one-on-one re-deliberation. Fight Club is about as meaningless as it is mundane. And that’s only the beginning.

Take pretty boy Brad Pitt, a Fincher veteran (Seven), remove all traces of hygiene, throw on some thrifty yet chic outfits, and you are left with a narcissistic and astoundingly sexually potent character with a knack for imparting the wisdom of the animal kingdom. You are not a unique snow flake. You are part of the same rotting, organic, compost heap that makes up the rest of nature. It is the walking, talking, primordial instinct. And its applications are endless. God was modeled after our fathers. Our Fathers left us. What does that tell you about god. Shut up. You have to consider that god may not like you. He never wanted you. In all probability, he hates you. If we are god’s unwanted children. So be it. We don’t need him. But first you must accept, not know, that some day you are going to die. It is not until we have lost everything that we are free to do anything. Imagine humankind without distractions. Imagine man without emotion, faith, or hope. Imagine man with absolute freedom. And thus we conclude our thematic flight into the very core of Fight Club. Our culture is nothing but an unfortunate byproduct of man’s inability to accept his true nature. We are animals in every sense of the word. Eat, sleep, be fruitful and multiply. Just make sure you don’t forget your Prada organizer in your BMW M-3. It could really put a damper on your day.

Many critics have accused Fincher of not taking the film seriously enough. But it is these critics who misunderstand Fincher’s keen sense of humor. Why would David Fincher decide to declare the world meaningless with a two and half hour, sixty million dollar, star-studded, blockbuster production? Why would he bother? Simply put, that is the very point of this film. Fincher acknowledges his hypocrisy with the clever placement of a single frame depicting a giant penis at the end of the film. How could anyone have the audacity to create any sort of nihilistic doctrine? It simply would not make sense. And thank you David Fincher for having the sense to say it.