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Fight Club Case Study

Rob Miller | Monday October 31, 2011

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS A2, FM4, Section C: Single Film Critical Study, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, Hollywood Films, Fight Club, Genres & Case Studies, Comedy, Drama, Film Noir, Romance, Thriller

A2 Film Studies Section C: Close Critical Study


Synopsis and Character Profiles

Fight Club is based on a surprisingly short novel by Chuck Palahniuk, where it is suggested the desire for meaning drives civilisation. The film takes this as it essence, but offers a broader range of more complex representations.


In terms of narrative, the film is initially about the life of a disillusioned office worker - played by the narrator, Edward Norton – he works for a car insurance company, who appraise accident damaged vehicles in terms of costing.

He finds his job boring and meaningless, and cannot sleep. On the advice of his Doctor, he attends a support group for testicular cancer (to find out what real suffering is) where he meets among others, Bob played by Meatloaf.


Norton (whose character name remains nameless for plot reasons) becomes addicted, and decides to attend as many support groups as he can.

This is where he meets the seductress, Marla Singer (played by Helena Bonham-Carter) who is also addicted to the same activities.

Marla and Norton clash as they both want to attend as many support groups as possible, for cathartic reasons, but this involves impeding each other’s territory.


Norton meets Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt) on a business flight return journey.

He is immediately drawn to as the eccentric, dynamic Brad Pitt aspirational character that he (Norton) wants to be – Durden is a soap salesman, who seduces Norton with stories of violence, danger and hyper real masculinity.

He is the binary opposite of the dry, stale restrictive life that Norton leads - illustrated by a key scene at the beginning of the film where Norton reflects on his life as defined by his apartment, littered by Ikea products which is represented as ‘feminised’ within the narrative. Durden is a hegemonic cultural stereotype, while Norton is a pluralistic representation of masculinity.


On his return home, Norton finds his apartment has...

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