Here, I am going to discuss my favourite scene from the great movie “Fight Club (1999)” directed by David Fincher. The scene is “The First Rule of Fight Club”. The movie is about an insomniac office worker, who is looking for a way to change his life. And, he crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more. The visual presentation of the scene matches the theme of the story. Harsh lighting and dark, bleak colour help to convey the tone of the film. The shift in the colours and lighting also contribute to representing the schizophrenic nature of the protagonist.
In the first shot, a focus pull is used. A focus pull is a creative camera technique in which you change focus during the shot (mediacollege.com, 2017). This is effective for the audience as it allows the audience to focus on one thing, in this case, Edward Norton’s character. This suggests that he is a more important character than the rest. The tone used in the film is dark. In my opinion, this is used to show the contrast between two places, i.e, the outer world and the underground club.
In the second shot, when Brad Pitt says ‘Gentlemen’ the other characters and the scene/ surrounding goes quiet, which suggest that everyone listens to him and has the respect of people around him. The camera at this point moves around the main focus which is Tyler (Brad Pitt) which suggest to the audience that this revolves around him, and is an important part of fight club. When Pitt is around, the lighting is dark, and there is a significant contrast in colours and light. The scenes with Brad Pitt are very tense and excessive compared to everyday life, i.e., the hard lighting emphasises the intensity.
At the end of the second shot, shot cuts to mid-close-up of Brad Pitt. Here, we start to see men take off items of their clothes, which suggest to the audience that they are getting ready for what they are about to do. By Pitt’s character saying the world fight club over again, with firmness, it suggests that he has more authority and has the power to command the other men in the club.
In the fourth shot, we see another focus pull. The camera focuses on Tyler, and the other characters are not in focus. This again emphasises the point in which Tyler is the main character and is also shown to be the leader, as he is standing in front of the camera and front of the crowd of men.
In this scene from Fight Club, the low-key lighting creates dramatic shadows, and in many ways there seemed to be no fill light at all, i.e., creating some harsh shadows in the scene.
After the fourth shot, we start to see more close-up used on the different men doing different things to get ready for fighting. This gives the audience insight to a little of each person’s identity/ personality which allows the audience to create some rapport with the characters.
Each close-up of the people’s faces shows what’s happens between these people in personal and means something to them.After the continuous close-up’s, we could see a quick transition from one shot to another. The camera movement zooms in on Tyler’s’ (Pitts) face and then zooms out in different directions which suggests that we are looking at the next scene in Tyler’s perspective.
As I said in the previous paragraph, the camera zooms into Pitt’s face and zooms out to another scene, i.e., a fight scene. During the fight scene, we see Tyler leaning on the wall casually smoking a cigarette which suggests he is used to this type of behaviour and activity. The voice-over of Edward Norton’s (Jack) character makes us think of what is happening from his perspective; this makes the audience want to relate with his character and see what he is seeing. Jack’s voice-over throughout the film serves as both narrative, as Jack’s VO throughout the film serves as both narrative, as most VO’s do, but also as a point of levity to balance out the dark images the film shows.
The mis-en-scene and acting make the men in the fight club seem like animals. They are sweating, dirty and are yelling for the men fighting.
In between the wide-shot, one of the fighters enters the shot and changes to mid-close-up of him. In this, the blood seen around his mouth shows how dangerous fight club is and shows how men are strong but also shows how weak men are as they could not defend themselves and lose.
Next shot takes to next day, here we can see what damage has been done next day. We can also see the contrasting between the two places, his office and the underground fighting ring. We can also see the different members and how they interact with each other out of the club. Everything in the normal world is flat nad bland reflecting the protagonist’s feelings towards the corporate life and the rut that he is stuck in.
The Sound Design and Editing in the selected scene is minimal. Nothing more can be said other than diegetic sound incorporating Pitt’s and low shuffle of crowds’ sound stood in silence. The editing in this scene looks interesting for me as it represents Brad Pitts’ mood in its simplicity. In this scene, the first shot is very slow but is then cut’s with reasonably rapid edits to show Pitt’s temper increasing as he starts his speech. When he talks and gets annoyed at the lack of discipline of the new members, the edit remains at a reasonably fast level until his speech gets into full flow. Later when the speech goes on the cuts become very slow representing how Pitts is then calm and disciplined himself to make his idea clear.
Another important element I have to discuss is about the dressing of the characters. All the characters are battered and bruised and even the freshers who are yet to fight. Each of the characters is covered with a form of grit or grime even in suits or formals.
- Fincher, D. (2017). Fight Club (1999). [online] IMDb. Available at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0137523/ [Accessed 6 May 2017].
- Mediacollege.com. (2017). The Focus Pull. [online] Available at: http://www.mediacollege.com/video/camera/focus/pull.html [Accessed 5 May 2017].