Study Guide

Fight Club Genre

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Postmodernist; Drama

Partying like it's 1999 turned out to be a pretty bleak affair based on all the moody dramas released that year: American Beauty. Boys Don't Cry. The Talented Mr. Ripley.

So what do these seemingly disparate movies have in common with Fight Club (besides being depressing)? Well, they're all dramas about identity. They explore what makes a person human, and how he fits into the world.

Fight Club sets itself apart with its graphic violence, making it a stereotypically masculine drama and one that examines what, exactly, masculinity is…and how manly man ideals can be damaging. Actually, American Beauty, Boys Don't Cry, and Mr. Ripley all deal with varying levels of this same testosterone-fueled theme. Fight Club just knocks out more teeth to make its point.

Where Fight Club really makes itself unique, however, is in its postmodern way of reminding you throughout that you are watching a movie unfold. You see tricks of filmmaking exposed (cigarette burns, changeovers, subliminal messages (check out Point of View for more). In one memorable scene, even Brad Pitt breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience directly: a move direct from the Postmodernist's playbook.

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