In spite of the fact that this is
one of the most original pictures in the last decade, I have a few
with it... and maybe a few solutions to go along with them. I
you might enjoy some alternate takes on an already interesting film.
If you haven't seen this movie, get off of this page now!
There are too many spoilers here.
And you should be watching tv instead of reading.
Solution: Create a more cohesive goal that all the pranks play into. Jack already does a number on his boss halfway through the film, so we need a new antagonist. Hey, Tyler has a secret life! Since we don't know anything about this persona, a reasonable approach might be to delve deeper into the secrets Tyler has accumulated. The audience slowly learns about this house he's squatting in, that he knows how to make soap... and explosives, and we're beginning to see some hints of what Project Mayhem is all about before the movie turns into a thriller. It is at this point that Jack ought to start putting some puzzle pieces together. Instead of flying around the country snooping out Fight Club franchises, the story should develop into a detective story wherein Jack literally finds himself, the pieces of his past that he's locked away, and where this destruction will ultimately be focused in the third act.
Seriously, she's completely incidental to the story from the time Jack stops going to support groups. At that point in the film, the entire development of the Fight Clubs and Project Mayhem can continue with or without her. Granted, she does play a role in integrating Jack and Tyler, although this could have been accomplished in a more interesting way, such as in a three-way confrontation between this oddest of love triangles.
Solution: Incorporate Marla into the plot! Some possible approaches...
Solution: Neither Jack nor Tyler were real. They were both imagined, two-dimensional caricatures of the extremes in a person we haven't even met. This could be handled in one terrific shot that would have left the entire audience talking about this film for years. Here's the plan (my little addition to the script is in bold).
Jack and Marla are completely alone. He struggles to get to his feet.
She helps him. They look out the window.
MASSIVE EXPLOSION -- a building a quarter of a mile away. It's
destruction is completely visible from here. The glass walls RATTLE
LOUDLY from the shock wave. They both stare out the window.
JACK: Listen, you met me at a really weird time in my life ...
Marla looks at Jack, then looks back out the window. He has neither
the face of Tyler nor Jack. This is a different person than either,
a blend of the traits of both men. He reaches for her hand. She
takes his hand.
Basically, we wouldn't meet the real protagonist of the film until right before the credits. This character is not a third personality, he's the real thing. Up until this point the viewer assumes Jack to be the real thing and Tyler to be a figment of Jack's imagination. Wrong. This is a story about transformation. It is more than "man against himself." At the end of this film, we find that we were watching a conflict between the Id and Ego of a single, conflicted individual. They were parts of a whole.
With the simple addition of the central character, the audience would be again knocked for a loop, and so many more themes would gel around this concept. The audience would be dissecting this film for years. Um, okay, so they're doing that anyway. Just the same, a conclusion like this would be so much cooler than a corporate lackey making up this Tyler persona, killing him off, and going back being to a beat-up Ed Norton with a hole in his cheek. Disposable Tyler? Never!
In fact, as with the original dichotomy, Jack hints at this new possibility earlier in the movie.
With insomnia, nothing is real. Everything is far away. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy.Mull it over. You know I'm right.
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