Home > Film, Opinions (Film) > Film: 30 Movies in 30 Days: Day 07

Film: 30 Movies in 30 Days: Day 07

This post is part of a month-long project, answering thirty topics about movies over thirty days. The subject for the seventh day is:

The most surprising plot twist or ending

An obvious choice here is The Usual Suspects, which has one of the more memorable twists and is pretty much the default movie to bring up when talking about twists in movies, and I considered Identity as another film that has a twisting plot. While there are clues sprinkled throughout the film I’m going to go with another film with a major twist that I didn’t see coming:

Fight Club

Fight Club

(Click the image for a link to the source)

I don’t think I knew very much about the film before viewing it, other than it featured Brad Pitt and Edward Norton starting a fight club. There’s considerably more to it than that, of course. Norton plays an unidentified man (essentially an ‘everyman’ who is given no name, but referred to as Jack in the script) who has lived his life exactly as he feels he is supposed to, graduating college, getting a job that pays well, buying lots of designer clothing and furniture, and feeling absolutely dissatisfied with it all and powerless to change anything. Then he meets Tyler Durden.

Spoilers follow

Originally meeting him on a flight home, ‘Jack’ is soon having a drink with him, after which Tyler asks him to punch him. They fight and ‘Jack’ feels alive for the first time, and they soon attract other men who feel just as disillusioned with and emasculated by the world, starting the first fight club. Tyler takes the concept further, with fight clubs all across the US who eventually form Project Mayhem, a terrorist group that aims to bring down the consumer and corporate culture that they feel has oppressed them.

While Tyler is initially everything ‘Jack’ wishes he could be, eventually Tyler takes Project Mayhem too far for ‘Jack’. After travelling between fight clubs in an attempt to stop Tyler, ‘Jack’ discovers the truth (and this is the big twist and a major spoiler): There is no Tyler Durden. Or, more accurately, ‘Jack’ is Tyler Durden, everything that Tyler did was actually ‘Jack’ doing it, creating this fake person to help him do things that he wouldn’t feel able to do himself.

It was a great revelation, but on repeat viewings it’s something that is also completely obvious. Even in the opening moments ‘Jack’ mentions knowing something because Tyler knows it, and throughout the film he talks about the similarities between their lives, with lots of deja vu and an awareness of things that only Tyler would know, as well as the strange situation where Tyler refuses to be in the same room as Martha, the woman he’s sleeping with, never interacting with her in any way. So it’s a twist that seems so obvious in hindsight, and I like that it’s so heavily telegraphed without being outright stated, even if it leaves you feeling a little silly for missing all the obvious clues.

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