Fight Club: Subliminal Tyler

Fight Club is David Fincher’s 1999 classic which is listed as an all-time great and is a certainty to be found on many peoples personal favourite films lists; however it’s not only it’s iconic story, great characters and extraordinary film-craft which makes Fight Club stand-out, it is the extreme detail in which it dives into, become not only a modern-classic; but a post-modern filmmaking master class. Its display of post-modernism is highlighted as within the opening sequences, before we are officially introduced to Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a series of subliminal styled flashes occur showing our character, the idea that it is post-modern is due to how Tyler himself shows us later within the film how filmmaker’s can achieve subliminal messages. As we find out later in the film, its Jack (Edward Norton) who  creates Tyler as a manifestation of his sub-conscious, to cover-up and to cope with his unhappiness due his slowing fading life which is looked at as pointless; however the very moments where Tyler flashes on screen is carefully orchestrated and very telling.

The Office is the first time we see Tyler Durden; his expression is very confused and dazed; as if he had just fallen into a different universe wondering where he is. Jack’s lines “Everything is just a copy, of a copy, of a copy” as he scans work through a photocopier, it’s all very telling, urging us to realise Jack has just made Tyler! Tyler is just a copy of Jack; they are the same people!

Tyler is then seen next in the Hospital, the doctor tells Jack “Swing by First Methodist Tuesday nights. See the guys with testicular cancer. That’s pain.” but Tyler stands behind with a grin, almost laughing at him. Is he laughing at Jack’s issues? The Doctors advice? or simply the idea that people think they know what pain and trouble is.

Tyler carries on mocking our cast and characters, this time in the Therapy Sessions he appears, the leader orders “Let’s all of us follow Thomas’s example and really open ourselves up.” Tyler with his arm around the guy, looking smug but once again a face of ridicule; thinking to himself Jack’s not going to find answers here; these aren’t men!

Tyler then stands in between Marla and Jack as the pair seem to walk away and gaze at each-other after a very textbook meet-cute. He’s obstructing them, showing Jack the one thing he make’s him promise later on.. Stay away from Marla!

Then Tyler appears in Jack’s hotel welcome video, he is on the far right on the front row, screaming welcome almost telling the audience he is soon to appear, as Jack slowly looses hope.

Then we see Tyler, not a flash but a long drawn out shot just before the two officially meet. He’s wearing his hyper-real clothes, but the way it is filmed is important, Tyler almost emerges out of thin air but more so straight from Jack’s body as the two pass on the escalator! The camera then follows Tyler all the way up as if he was our main character.

Then Tyler and Jack finally meet side by side on the plane and the first line Jack says is “Look we have the same briefcase”, or in other words, “Look we are the same person”.

 

 

 

 

The Shining- Here’s Stanleeeeyyy

Working Under Stanley Kubrick

The director Stanley Kubrick is known as a perfectionist in the world of film but on the set of The Shining he entered a whole new level. To reach perfection Kubrick likes to take shots over and over again but not just any shots, every shot. During the most famous scene in The Shining (1980) Jack Nicholson playing the crazed character of Jack Torrance takes an axe to a door shouting “here’s Johnnyyy”. It was reported that to achieve perfection Kubrick re-shot that scene nearly 30 times. The best bit was that Jack had training as a fireman previously and said to Stanley Kubrick to give him a real axe and to use a solid oak door to make the scene realistic as possible, unknowingly he didn’t realise he had to smash his way through 30 solid oak doors. Poor Jack Nicholson didn’t even get a nomination let alone an award, on the brighter side at least his role has been made famous by Lenny Henry in the Travel Lodge adverts.
Jack Nicholson wasn’t the only victim of Stanley Kubrick on the set of The Shining, Shelley Duvall who played Wendy Torrance, Jack’s wife had a full on breakdown. Kubrick ordered the final sequences to be re-shot over a dozen times, in the final sequences Shelley Duvall had to act scared and upset as her crazed husband hunts her down with an axe. Where she had to keep crying it was reported that crew members had to keep getting her water where she had lost so much fluid due to the tears. After a few retakes she actually had a genuine breakdown and had to take a break. Shelley Duvall took a break from being an actress after filming and no surprise too as just like Jack she didn’t even get a nomination.