A very controversial film, to be sure.
But also an important film.
How many of you have seen it? I want to talk in-depth, but I don't want to give spoilers. There is a lot of food for thought in this disturbing, engaging movie.
Now entering spoilerspace
I watched the DVD a few weeks after the revelation of my abuse. This was only the 2nd time I had seen it, but this time, I knew about the twist ending, and all that. So I enjoyed it on another level, but I was still trying to deal with figuring out WHAT disturbed me about the movie. I discussed it with my best friend from college, and he essentially said "if you didn't like the movie simply because of the violence, then I'll have to do horrible things to you, because you missed the whole point of the film."
We sent a few emails back and forth about it, but I've been left with my own thoughts for the last couple weeks. The scene that really stayed with me this time around was the "chemical burn" scene. I remember when I watched the movie, it struck me that it was like watching a zen master prompt his student through a zen koan, to shock the student's way to enlightenment. And it became all the more clear to me yesterday.
My buddy had said that this scene was about how we deal with our pain. When Jack first gets the chemical burn, he tries to go to his "safe place," but Tyler smacks him out of it. He tries many times to deny the pain, so that he can survive the encounter, but Tyler will not let him escape the pain. Jack must accept his pain. Then he must treat the cause of his pain in a rational manner, not in the way that first occurs to him (run his hand under water). Doing that would cause even more damage. But accepting his pain, and looking for the source of the pain, and then the right antidote for it (vinegar, for instance), he can end it.
WOW!!! Isn't this just like dealing with any emotional pain?? Over the weekend, I've also had to deal with a different best friend that made a suicide attempt over the loss of his brother 12 years ago. He hasn't been able to move on from his pain after all this time, and has lost hope that it is even possible. Worse, he won't accept any help from his friends, or from anyone else. The things we do to help him, only make him feel worse, and then he blames his feelings on US, rather than the source of his pain. He desperately wants to end the pain. But he doesn't know how.
I wish I knew what the "vinegar" cure for his grief pain was, so I could provide it to him. I know what has worked for me, but he doesn't want to hear about other people; he sees it as a selfish act, rather than sharing knowledge that could be adapted or used to benefit him. But I also know the cardinal rule of psychology: the person has to want to change.
Another "Fight Club" point is the "human sacrifice" scene, wherein a person's life is threatened (though not really, since the gun isn't loaded) and they are told to do something to improve their life, or they will come back and kill them. This highlights how people need to hit bottom before they are willing to change course. It's a sad-but-true moment, that has reached new meaning. But if my friend hits bottom, then it means that he's going to get so close to killing himself, that he just might pull it off.
Long story short, "Fight Club" took on new significance this weekend.
We're in this together.
[ August 30, 2001: Message edited by: Just Call me J ]
[ September 02, 2001: Message edited by: Just Call me J ]
We're in this together. - Nine Inch Nails