David Fincher is no stranger to movies that are grimy, gritty, and gruesome– Fight Club is no exception. Just four years earlier in Se7en, audiences viewed some of the most horrific murders in film history. What really sets Se7en apart, however, is that it finds a way to balance the disgusting grime with the purity and good of the world. Scenes of rape and rot are juxaposed with nice dinners and loving wives. This balance of good and evil is what makes Se7en such a beautifully heartbreaking film. Se7en reminds us that while there is evil in the world, there is also good.
Fight Club completely abandons this morality for the idea that all of the world is deteriorating. From the start of the movie it is clear that there is no room for positivity in the film. The treatment for insomnia is not pharmaceuticals but invading innocent support groups. Fincher depicts the idea that masculinity is becoming lost in a sea of materialism and that the only way to combat it is to unlock the most inner male desire: physical altercations. However, this fight club quickly turns into a cult that has nothing to do with the original masculine desires, and results in the bombing of a city block. The ending of Se7en leaves the viewer heartbroken for the loss of innocence in a brutal world, while Fight Club instead leaves the viewer hopeless , as if there was never any hope to begin with.
Fight Club is so repulsive in both meaning and visuals that it becomes hard to find a reason to keep watching (except for a muscular Brad Pitt, maybe). There is nothing necessarily wrong with the technical side of the film; the acting, directing, and screenplay are all done perfectly, except for the one-sided and sex-based depiction of women. Fight Club is not for the faint of heart, or the germaphobes. It leaves the viewer feeling depressed and sedated in a world that can’t be helped.