David Fincher was recently asked by The Guardian about how his 1999 directorial effort “Fight Club” has become a favorite amongst incels and far-right groups for depicting disenfranchised white men coming together to rally against capitalist society. The director distanced himself from such a topic, telling the publication, “I’m not responsible for how people interpret things…Language evolves. Symbols evolve.”
“Ok, fine,” Fincher replied when the Guardian writer said “Fight Club” has become a touchstone for the far right. “It’s one of many touchstones in their lexicography.” Is the director bothered by that? “We didn’t make it for them, but people will see what they’re going to see in a Norman Rockwell painting, or [Picasso’s] Guernica,” he reasoned, reiterating that he’s not responsible for how people interpret his work.
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“It’s impossible for me to imagine that people don’t understand that Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) is a negative influence,” Fincher added. “People who can’t understand that, I don’t know how to respond and I don’t know how to help them.”
“Fight Club” stars Edward Norton as a lowlife, insomniac office worker who befriends a masculine soap salesman (Pitt). The two start a male fight group. Pitt’s Tyler Durden then plans an attack on consumer credit companies as the fight club spirals into a makeshift domestic terrorist group. The film was a box office flop upon release in 1999 but emerged as a cult classic in the years that followed.
The film made news last year after it was uploaded to China’s largest video streaming service with its ending edited. Fincher’s finale finds Norton’s character killing off alter ego Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) before watching the city burst into flames in apparent confirmation that his plan to destroy civilization has worked. The censored ending in China cut the film to black before the citywide destruction. A title card then appeared saying authorities stopped the anarchic plan.
Fincher reacted to the censored ending in an interview with Empire magazine, saying, “It’s funny to me that the people who wrote the Band-Aid [ending] in China must have read the book, because it adheres pretty closely [to the final pages of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel].”
The director expressed confusion and amusement at why any streaming platform would be interested in showing in his “Fight Club” but with a changed ending.
“If you don’t like this story, why would you license this movie?” Fincher asked. “It makes no sense to me when people go, ‘I think it would be good for our service if we had your title on it… we just want it to be a different movie.’ The fucking movie is 20 years old. It’s not like it had a reputation for being super cuddly.”
“Fight Club” is available to rent or buy domestically on Amazon Prime Video.
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