The Hero's Journey: Fight Club (1999)

Fig. 1 Fight Club (1999) Movie poster
This is a slightly different review of this film, as I am looking at and identifying the Hero's Journey of the main character, instead of review the film as I normally would. David Fincher's Fight Club (1999). The film itself is quite complex and confusing, and so it doesn't, necessarily, have a main hero character, like Marty McFly in Back to the Future (1985). Also, the way it critique's modern day culture (or at least the culture in the late 90s), this film could be beneficial and referred to when writing my postmodernism essay, through the way it mocks the way we live, what we buy and what we eat.

The way I'll show these steps is by writing out the plot in quite some depth and then taking parts out of what I have wrote and then putting the steps in a list

SPOILERS AHEAD!

For the majority of the film, Edward Norton's character does not have a name that we know of. He uses different names when going to AA meetings of different kinds. At this stage, we refer to Edward Norton's character as "The Narrator", as we don't know his real name. He doesn't have much interaction with any character in particular. However, in the early stages of the film, we meet Marla Singer (Played by Helena Bonham Carter). At this point in the film, there isn't any clear sign of affection towards her, and is in fact the opposite. Despite this, her appearances at the AA meetings aggravate him and so she is controlling his actions to some degree. 

Fig.2 "The Narrator" played by Edward Norton -The "Hero"

While on a plan journey, he meets Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt). There are some similarities between both characters, but Tyler appears to be a lot more confident in his actions. When "The Narrator" is returning home to his apartment, it has been burned down. He then decides to ring Tyler in a phone booth, but there is no answer, so he hangs up the phone. Suddenly, the phone starts ringing, he answers and it's Tyler - They arrange to meet up. During this meeting, "The Narrator" is reluctant to ask if he could stay at Tyler's place. It is only when Tyler forces him to ask does he then ask the question. When they leave the bar, Tyler wants him to get into a fight, which he eventually does. This leads to a gathering of people watching them. As they continue to have these fights, the pair organise a fight club underneath a bar, where people can fight each other while following their rules.
Fig.3 Tyler Durden (Played by Brad Pitt)

Due to the success of the Fight club, it develops into organised crime, known as Project Mayhem. The members of this project have to complete many difficult and controversial tasks, such as destroying sculptures, having fights with random people and breaking into shops. Tyler is clearly in control, and "The Narrator" remains confused, and wants answers. Tyler then appears to go missing, leaving him in control of the whole operation. The members of this project are still under the influence of Tyler, as they don't listen to him in the same way. 

Fig.4 Marla Singer played by Helena Bonham Carter - The "Goddess"

As "The Narrator" wants his questions answered he goes off in search for Tyler, but he realises that Tyler's influence is wider than he thought, as there appears to be similar fight clubs all over the country. He then meets this man, who claims that he has been Tyler Durden all along, and so meaning Brad Pitt's character didn't exist. He refuses to believe the man, and so rings Marla, asking her what his name is. She is confused before shouting out and repeating his name of Tyler Durden. He realises he needs to stop Project Mayhem as they intend to destroy several buildings in the city. He finds one of the sets of bombs in a building, then suddenly Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) appears in front of him. He tries to irritate him and wants him to stop trying to stop what he put together, but does still assist him, to some level, when defusing the bomb. The two have a fight. The CCTV cameras show us that when he fights Tyler, he is just fighting himself. Tyler holds a gun to him. He then has a moment to think and realises that the gun is actually in his hand. He manages to kill Tyler by shooting into his mouth. He now realises who he really is, and so is both the man he thought he was an Tyler Durden. Marla is taken to him by members of Project Mayhem. He reassures Marla that he is fine, and that she just met him at a very strange time in his life. 

The Hero's Journey Steps:

The Call to Adventure: When "The Narrator" is returning home to his apartment, it has been burned down. He then decides to ring Tyler in a phone booth, but there is no answer, so he hangs up the phone. Suddenly, the phone starts ringing, he answers and it's Tyler - They arrange to meet up

The Refusal of the Call:  "The Narrator" is reluctant to ask if he could stay at Tyler's place. It is only when Tyler forces him to ask does he then ask the question.

Supernatural Aid: While on a plan journey, he meets Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt). There are some similarities between both characters, but Tyler appears to be a lot more confident in his actions.

Crossing the Threshold: When they leave the bar, Tyler wants him to get into a fight, which he eventually does. This leads to a gathering of people watching them.

The Belly of the Whale: As they continue to have these fights, the pair organise a fight club underneath a bar, where people can fight each other while following their rules.

Road of Trials: Due to the success of the Fight club, it develops into organised crime, known as Project Mayhem. 

Meeting the Goddess: However, in the early stages of the film, we meet Marla Singer (Played by Helena Bonham Carter).

Woman as Temptress: her appearances at the AA meetings aggravate him and so she is controlling his actions to some degree.

Atonement of Father:  Tyler then appears to go missing, leaving him in control of the whole operation. The members of this project are still under the influence of Tyler, as they don't listen to him in the same way.

Apotheosis (God-like): Tyler is clearly in control, and "The Narrator" remains confused, and wants answers.

The Ultimate Boon: He then meets this man, who claims that he has been Tyler Durden all along, and so meaning Brad Pitt's character didn't exist

Refusal of Return: He refuses to believe the man, and so rings Marla, asking her what his name is. She is confused before shouting out and repeating his name of Tyler Durden. 

Magic Flight: He realises he needs to stop Project Mayhem as they intend to destroy several buildings in the city. He finds one of the sets of bombs in a building, then suddenly Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) appears in front of him.

Rescue from Without: He tries to irritate him and wants him to stop trying to stop what he put together, but does still assist him, to some level, when defusing the bomb.

Crossing the Return Threshold: Tyler holds a gun to him. He then has a moment to think and realises that the gun is actually in his hand. He manages to kill Tyler by shooting into his mouth.

Master of Two Worlds: He now realises who he really is, and so is both the man he thought he was an Tyler Durden

Freedom to Live: He reassures Marla that he is fine, and that she just met him at a very strange time in his life. 


Illustration List:
Fig. 1 Fight Club (1999) Movie posterhttp://i.jeded.com/i/fight-club.25541.jpg - (Accessed 24/09/2015)

Fig.2 "The Narrator" played by Edward Norton -The "Hero"http://www.magiclanternfilmsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/fight-club_1999-3-1920x1200_scroller.jpg - (Accessed 24/09/2015)

Fig.3 Tyler Durden (Played by Brad Pitt)http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/reliable-source/files/2014/10/FightClubPitt.jpg - (Accessed 24/09/2015)

Fig.4 Marla Singer played by Helena Bonham Carter - The "Goddess" http://rob.conery.io/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/marla2.png - (Accessed 24/09/2015)

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