For years, David Fincher has been turning out some of the most stylish and inventive thrillers to ever hit the American screens. In spite of critical and public backlash, his Alien 3 remains the most technically interesting of that series, and Seven stands as the suspense film upon which all other modern suspense films are based. With The Game, he proved himself more than a one-movie wonder and emerged as one of the most original filmmakers working in Hollywood. His new film, Fight Club, however, is his most challenging piece of work. It is a film that demands that its viewers look past what's on the surface and find something deeper.
Fight Club is a multi-layered film with many subplots and multiple themes. Fincher delves into such topics as consumerism, the feminization of society, manipulation, cultism, fascism, and even the psychosemantics of the human id and ego. Primarily, it is a film that surrealistically describes the status of the American male at the end of the 20th century: disenchanted, unfulfilled, castrated and looking for a way out. It depicts how consumerist males have been emasculated by their modern life styles, by a feminized consumer culture that places more worth on nice furniture and nice wardrobe than masculine values like power and strength.
The central character in the film, who remains nameless and who is played by Edward Norton, is very much like Lester Burnham of American Beauty. He is trapped in the corporate world and finds himself increasingly dissatisfied with the fruits it is supposed to deliver.
Norton's character leads an unfulfilled and aimless life. Rather than masturbating as an outlet, he buys furniture from IKEA. It is by no chance that our Narrator is not given a name: he is the Everyman of the 90s, "a slave to the IKEA nesting instinct" (Fight Club) with an apartment that owns him more than he owns it. He also suffers from insomnia for which the only cure seems to come in the form...