For years David Fincher has directed some of the most stylish and inventive thrillers in American cinema. His credits include: Aliens 3, Seven, The Game and Fight Club. Each of these films has been not only aesthetically pleasing and fun to watch but each has commented on society, making the viewers think outside norms and analyze their world. Fight Club is no exception; it is a multi-layered film with many subplots and themes, but the primarily it a surrealistically description of the status of the American male at the end of the 20th century. David Flincher’s movie, Fight Club, depicts how consumerism has caused the emasculatization of the modern male and tells a tale of liberation from a corporate controlled society.
In the movie Brad Pitt comments on the new way of life, “We are products of lifestyle obsession; murder, crime, poverty do not concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with five hundred cannels and a designer name on my underwear.” The film, Fight Club illustrates the consumer culture in which the 20th century male lives in and how it’s deconstruction of individuality. The film gives numerous examples of this; the main character of the film (Ed Norton) asks when looking through an IKEA catalog, “What kind of plates define me as a person.” He not asking what personal characteristics and attributes define him but what possession most accurately does. Furthermore, Ed Norton’s character has no name; he is only referred to as the 90’s everyman, the IKEA man. The film demonstrates the extensive emphases the consumer based culture of the 20th century on individualism and values associated with being a man.
Corporations have replaced personal qualities with corporate logos; the modern male cannot be anything unless he has certain products in his possession. No longer does one own things, his things own him. The contemporary male is a slave of the IKEA nesting instinct.
The main character absence of a name only exemplifies this; the buying of furniture from IKEA gives Ed Norton his identity, without being a consumer the main character would remain undefined and anonymous. In the movie, the two main characters, Ed Norton and Brad Pitt, are staring at a Calvin Klein ad and ask each other is this what a man is supposed to look like. Fight Club shows the extent of consumerism controlling life; the consumer culture even defines how the modern male should look and how he should aspire to look.
The corporate ownership of the male extends to how much his life is worth. Ed Norton works in a claims department for a large car manufacture. His job is to decide what a manufacture does in case of a design flaw. Take for example, if a carburetor runs a risk of exploding after 100,000 miles; ED Norton’s job is to investigate the probability of this happening. Then take the number of vehicles on the road and multiply them it by the probable rate of failure and multiply the product again with average price of a settlement. If the end result is less than the cost of a recall, there is no recall.
Brad Pitt makes a statement that illustrates the society the modern male is forced to live in, “We are a society of men raised by women.” The film portrays the emasculation of the 20th century male, not only by our consumer-oriented society but also by feminine standards of civilization. The best example of his would be the support groups Ed Norton visits. In these support groups men are told to gather power, strength and courage from each other; not from themselves. At the end of the sessions men are told to hold each other and cry, things that are very non-stereotypical of men. The 20th century society does not want men to function independently and be able be emotional strong on their own; it does not want men to be men.
Society wants to take the vary ideals of being a man, independence, strength and courage and only allow for men to experience them at certain times. The castration and feminization of the male character is exemplified through testicular cancer support group. The men in