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Fight Club

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Fight Club appears to be a sequel to Clockwork Orange (1971) for the yuppie X Generation, half of whom see their parents get a divorce and are fatherless teenagers. (The word "clockwork" is in the script!) Jack (played by Edward Norton) narrates the film, explaining how his 1997 life of white-collar employment and middle-class materialistic success bored him until he fell under the spell of Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt), who takes on part-time jobs so that he can engage in mischief to deal with his own identity crisis. In the early part of the film Jack has insomnia, but his physician will not give him stronger sleeping pills, urging him instead to attend alcoholics anonymous-type groups so that he will meet those with real problems. Initially, the nightly meetings provide enough emotional catharsis so that Jack can get a good night sleep. Then Marla (played by Helena Bonham Carter), another faker, starts attending the same meetings, so impotent Jack no longer enjoys the experience. Looking for something different, one night in the parking lot outside a bar Jack meets Tyler, who asks him to slug him. The exhilaration of the fight prompts them to repeat the ritual, and ultimately Jack abandons his yuppie lifestyle to live in Tyler's ramshackle house (after Tyler secretly plants a bomb to destroy his condo). Others, watching the two slug it out, soon want to fight, too, whereupon Tyler organizes the Fight Club, eight rules in all, which meets in the basement under the bar. (The eight rules appear patterned on the famous 12-step programs of the AA groups.) Interchangeable parts in an overbureaucratized world, where everyone is employed and thus feels no compulsion to become politically active to get politicians on the ball, the club's members belong to the working class in contrast with middle class Jack and Tyler. Fight Club's camaraderie provides the psychological support so that they can revert to their own animalistic resources. Only Tyler enjoys sex (with Marla). The others seem so crude in appearance that they have obviously not been able to seek release via sex; that they enjoy a nihilistic men's club, where men are topless, is a clear sign of repressed homosexuality. Only through showing muscle can they feel like men after their demasculinized postindustrial jobs. In due course, Tyler changes the Fight Club into Project Mayhem, a club with fascist rules that stockpiles explosives in Tyler's home preparatory to blowing up high rises. The Asian seen twice at Fight Club, however, is not invited to join Project



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