Not certain of what I'm talking about? Think of movies like Pi , The Game, Donnie Darko, Memento, Inception, or 12 Monkeys. If you step out to get a drink, answer a phone call, or use the bathroom while these movies are playing, you will return more confused than when you stepped away. Sometimes it feels as if you might miss something if you even blink.
That is how I classify movies like Fight Club.
In this 1999 film - directed by David Fincher (who helmed The Game), Edward Norton plays the nameless narrator - a disgruntled insomniac feeling lost and overwhelmed by his dismal white collar job. He seeks therapy, medications, and support groups without relief. After a chance encounter with Brad Pitt’s character - an anarchist named Tyler Durden, the narrator returns home from a business trip to find his apartment has been destroyed. He is invited to live with Durden where the two men start an underground fight club that grows into an anti-capitalist group called Project Mayhem.
Weird things happen. They dumpster dive at a liposuction clinic, they make soap, they secure financing, they fight, they get bloody and bruised. The plot twists like a pretzel and leads into a dazzling climax.
Fincher's Fight Club is endlessly quotable. You would have a difficult time finding a anyone in their 30s that can't tell you the first two rules of Fight Club. It is entirely exciting, hilarious, engrossing, and disturbing - all at once. Its best trait is that it makes you think - a rarity that I love in cinema.
To be honest, the only reason I watched Fight Club when it first came out is because I wanted to see Brad Pitt get the crap beat out of him. Since then, it has become one of my all-time favorite movies. I can watch it over and over again and still get a mystified feeling at the end. For those of you who have been living in a cave for the past 16 years, I won't spoil the ending.
Well, not the climactic moment at least. But what comes after resonates with me more now than it ever has before. After the twist is revealed and the plot is resolved, the Narrator and Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) stand together in a parking garage to watch as buildings explode and crumble around them.
Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Surrounded by destruction, the Narrator looks at Marla and tells her, "You met me at a very strange time in my life."
It was a strange time in his life. He first met Marla in various support groups and in the time between their first meeting and the final moments of the film, the Narrator had transformed into a completely different person. His experience as Tyler Durden's roommate was tumultuous and chaotic. Nothing in his life was the same as it had been months earlier. Those words, "You met me at a very strange time in my life" carry a poignant weight.
I feel that closing scene far deeper these days than I did when I was 20 and watching Fight Club for the first time. The past couple of years have been a period of change and growth for me. It has been filled with grief and loss, but also with new adventures and renewed sense of identity.
Over the past couple of years, I have also met a lot of people, forging new relationships and creating a revived network of support. Whether it is the worship team at church, my Monday night small group, the D&B community, or my Friday night late night Google Hangout group, most of the people that I trust and value are relatively new to my life.
The Narrator's words have come to mind upon multiple occasions these past couple of years. I cannot tell you how many times I've wanted to tell someone, "You met me at a very strange time in my life."
So I'll say it now. If you are one of those that have recently become a part of my world, you are my tribe and I am grateful for our friendship.
However, you met me at a very strange time in my life.
Thank you for accepting - and even embracing my strangeness.