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25 Songs, 25 Days: Who is Tyler Durden?

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Day 11: A song on the soundtrack of your favourite movie

Who is Tyler Durden? | The Dust Brothers

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From the moment I first saw Fight Club, late one evening in the autumn of 1999, I was smitten. Here was a film of such style, such power, such magnificence, that you cannot help but fall in love with it. It is one of those rare films that can only be described as perfect. The casting. The writing. The cinematography. The direction. Everything comes together with such grace and panache that you are left breathless in appreciation.

Fight Club, directed by David Fincher, is a film about an average man, so average that he doesn’t even have a name; in the credits, he is referred to as “The Narrator”. He lives a monotonous life where everything is “a copy of a copy of a copy”. It isn’t until the day where he meets Tyler Durden while traveling on a plane for a business trip that his life gets stirred up. Tyler is everything the Narrator isn’t, and everything the Narrator wishes to be. The Narrator focuses on material things, like how much he can buy from an IKEA catalog, while Tyler lives his life with the belief that “the things you own end up owning you”. Played by Brad Pitt, Tyler embodies the sex appeal that the Narrator (played by Edward Norton) wishes for, and as he works various odd jobs to get by, he isn’t tied down to a big corporation like the Narrator is. The big “twist” at the end of the film is that we find out that the Narrator and Tyler Durden are the same person. From a Freudian stand-point, Tyler represent the Narrator’s id, which is all of his unconscious wants and desires (Cherry). Throughout the entirety of the film, we see how the id, ego, and superego play out in the Narrator’s mind, and how Tyler represents every desire that he has suppressed, whether that be from childhood or adulthood.

~ from Freudian Analysis of Fight Club ~

One of the often forgotten aspects of film is the music. All too often the work of the humble composer is overlooked. The audience too spellbound by the visuals on-screen to pay attention to the compositions that fuel emotional reaction. John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Bernard Herrmann, James Horner, all have composed music for some of the most well-known films in cinema history. Yet so few know their name.

To honor the film composer I have, for today’s installment of the 25 Songs, 25 Days challenge, chosen to showcase a piece of instrumental score, rather than a song, from my favourite movie. Like everything else in Fight Club, the music, by pioneering duo The Dust Brothers, is perfection. It compliments the visual and emotional style of the movie, it burrows into your subconscious and refuses to let go.

It is a haunting, stimulating musical score that demands attention.

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