Fight Club is a 1999 film based on the 1996 book of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. Fight Club was the first published work of Palahniuk and gained him worldwide appreciation. The film was directed by David Fincher and featured Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter.
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The central theme of the film is identity. At the beginning of the movie, the main character is an indistinguishable part of society, with no interests and passions. The life of the main character of the film changes when he becomes friends with a man he met on a flight. The man challenges him to become more confident and independent and inspires the main character to reclaim his identity using ways that become increasingly violent and criminal as the story progresses.
Narrative and Point of View
The story is told from Jack’s point of view, which is why the fact that he and Tyler are the same person is hidden from the audience for the vast part of the film. The narrative of the movie is somewhat fragmented and thoroughly unreliable. The narrator speaks directly to the audience through multiple voice-overs, yet he offers a very personal account of what is happening in the story, not allowing us to see the big picture.
The main character of the film is unnamed, although at some points during the movie he is referred to as Jack. At the beginning of the story, he is an office clerk who is utterly unsatisfied with his life. As the story progresses, he becomes more violent and involved with Tyler’s revolutionary ideas. Quitting his job, he opens a fight club, which later transforms into a gang, with members from a variety of backgrounds who are tired of their lives and want to escape ‘the system’.
Tyler is a man that the main character meets on a plane. He is bold and confident, an exact opposite of what ‘Jack’ is. He helps the protagonist to overcome his fears and become independent, while at the same time developing in him despise towards the society and the way it makes people lose their true identity. Towards the end of the second act of the film, it is revealed that Tyler is an alter ego of the main character, his violent inner self that he has been hiding for years.
The story is set in the real world with no indication that the events unfolding are imaginary. However, as the story progresses, it becomes harder to see the events as real. Instead, the main storyline seems to be an allegory of how radical movements emerge and an outline of the ideas behind them. Similarly, whereas the main twist of the story can also be fitted into realistic terms as the borderline personality disorder, it should not be taken as a direct representation of reality but rather as a hyperbolic portrayal of it.
Forrest Gump is a 1994 comedy-drama based on a novel by Winston Groom. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks and Robin Wright as its main characters.
At the center of the film is a story of the life of Forrest, a person with diminished intellectual abilities. The main theme of the movie is happiness and success, as the story shows how a person that does not fit into the traditional frames of society can still be happy and successful on his terms. Forrest’s life seems to be unaffected by his mental conditions. He goes to school with other children, finishes college, enrolls with the armed forces to fight in Vietnam, follows his dream to become a shrimping boat captain, and eventually marries his school sweetheart and raises a child. One of the most important scenes of the film is when Forrest runs a marathon across America, and people that see him along the way become inspired and join him. To me, this scene signifies that determination and focus can offer a new way of living life not just to one person, but to the entire community.
Narrative and Point of View
The story is told from the main character’s point of view, and the narrative style is, therefore, very personal. The audience sees the events as Forrest perceives them, which helps to build empathy towards the character. Forrest’s view of certain events is naive, which sometimes provokes skepticism in the audience – for instance, he describes Jenny’s father as a loving man, when he is referring to the cases of child molesting.
Forrest Gump is the protagonist of the film. He has a low IQ, which does not stop him from doing what he loves and becoming successful in the end. He is kind to every person he meets, which helps him on his way to happiness.
Jenny is Forrest’s childhood friend and also his beloved. She grew up in a complicated family and finds it hard to commit to relationships, which is why she keeps running away from Forrest, who loves her.
The film is set in the second half of the 19th century and involves a lot of important events of that time, including the war in Vietnam, the founding of Apple Inc., and more. The overall setting of the story is realistic. However, certain aspects of it, such as Forrest’s seemingly unproblematic admission to college and the armed forces, as well as the luck of the character, seem quite unrealistic from a regular person’s point of view.
Fight Club. Directed by David Fincher, performances by Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter, Twentieth Century Fox, 1999.
Forrest Gump. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, performances by Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field, Paramount Pictures, 1994.