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Fight Club and Reservoir Dogs

In: Film and Music

Submitted By bpolini
Words 961
Pages 4
get Thomas Bonds
English 201
Nov. 20, 2013

Fight Club and Reservoir Dogs Fight Club and Reservoir Dogs portray similar themes. The primary characters in both films are disconnected from themselves and therefore have trouble functioning in their own lives. These characters also have differing beliefs on the nature of their own realities and are disconnected from them. Similarly, David Fincher and Quinton Tarantino use thematic and stylistic devices to disconnect the viewer from the reality of the films’ narratives. In Reservoir Dogs, the characters are disconnected from themselves; they do not even have names. Instead, they are each assigned a color and are referred to by their colleagues as Mr. Orange, Mr. Pink, Mr. White, Mr. Brown, etc. The men are selected to do a job for a criminal organization that involves stealing precious jewels. What makes this organization so odd, however, is the fact that none of the men selected are allowed to use their real names. The head of the organization, Joe, assigns these color names to the criminals, creating an air of disconnect, as neither the characters in the film nor the viewers know their true identities. This removal of identity not only creates disconnection among the characters, but also causes disconnection in the characters’ own selves, negatively effecting their ability to be the “professionals” that they so often pride themselves on being. This adverse affect on their lives ultimately causes the deaths of each character. At the beginning of Fight Club, the viewers meet an insomniac whose condition has become so serious that he has become disconnected from his own life. This disconnection is so severe that creates another self. The Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) is almost a polar opposite of the protagonist narrator. Tyler lives in squalor and lives a completely unstructured and carefree life, taking no responsibility for anything. Essentially Tyler is everything the protagonist isn’t, but secretly wishes he could be. After the Ed Norton character first encounters Tyler, his life is thrown into turmoil. He finds that his apartment is now a pile of ash and rubble, and over time, he becomes unable to function in his professional and daily life. The major characters in both Fight Club and Reservoir Dogs believe they are living in reality. But just as they are disconnected from themselves they are also disconnected from the reality surrounding them. For example, in Fight Club, the main protagonist has no idea that his new friend Tyler Durden is actually just a part of himself. He, in fact, fully believes that others can see and interact with Tyler, and does not realize that Tyler’s actions are, in reality, his own. In Reservoir Dogs, the characters’ disconnection from themselves also causes a disconnection from their perception of the reality surrounding them. Mr. Brown, Mr. Orange, Mr. White, Mr. Pink, etc. all have differing perceptions of what happened during the botched diamond heist. While they are all in agreement that one of them is a rat, their perceptions cause them to argue repeatedly about the identity of said rat. David Fincher and Quinton Tarantino use numerous thematic and stylistic devices to convey the disconnection and detachment from reality in their films. In both Fight Club and Reservoir Dogs, unconventional narrative patterns are used. At times, it is unclear to the viewer how a scene fits with the rest of the film. This kind of narrative disconnects the viewer from the reality of the film, just as the characters are disconnected from the reality around them. In Fight Club, the main protagonist, Ed Norton, is also the narrator for the film. Because the narrator is the main protagonist in the film, his narrations are skewed by his own beliefs about reality further confusing the viewer. The use of flashbacks is highly prevalent in both films. This adds to the unconventional narrative. The films both have examples of characters who partake in actions that are irrational. For example in Fight Club, it is unclear why the protagonist forms an organization bent on destroying the headquarters of credit card companies. This action is a far cry from the aims and goals of the original fight club. Instead of camaraderie in a private setting, the group becomes home grown terrorists. In Reservoir Dogs, one of the characters performs an equally irrational act. Mr. Blonde disfigures the face of the police officer he captured during the failed diamond heist. Despite Mr. Blonde’s desire to get information about the possible rat in the organization, it makes little sense for him to maim the police officer the way he does. The use of oblique camera angles in both films further illustrates the disconnection in the lives of the films’ characters. In Reservoir Dogs, the camera is often set far away from the action of the scene. For example, the viewer will see the scene from a hallway looking in through a door. This allows the viewer to only see a portion of the scene in order to illustrate disconnection. In Fight Club, the scene that best illustrates this device is the scene in which the protagonist (Ed Norton character) is speaking to Marla while simultaneously seeing and speaking to Tyler Durden who is standing at the base of the stairs. Here he is being pulled between his real self and the broken off self that has become Tyler Durden. This is the best representation of his disconnection within himself. Disconnection and detachment from reality is a central theme in both Fight Club and Reservoir Dogs. This theme is represented in both the characters in the films and their disconnection from their lives and from reality as a whole, as well as the directors’ use of many thematic and stylistic devices to mimic the disconnection for the viewers.

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