Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Film Studies


Dr. Joe Wlodarz


An analysis of recent Hollywood blockbuster films reveals the frequent use of anarchism as a trope for negotiating the atmosphere of cultural, political and economic uncertainty that has come to characterise life in the twenty-first century. By applying a technologically-informed strand of anarchism Lewis Call characterizes as postmodern anarchism to these films, socio-cultural tensions and anxieties over the proliferation of digital technologies, fluctuating notions of masculinity and femininity and the threat of terrorism can be allegorically mapped and traced within their narratives. A close analysis of two films that bracket this period, Fight Club (Fincher, 1999) and The Dark Knight (Nolan, 2008), demonstrates the ways in which 9/11, the War on Terror and the politics of (in)security have transformed many of the anxieties that were present at the turn of the millennium and shed light on why anarchy is often gendered as masculine. Of interest within this study are the ways in which these films engage with fantasies of masculine authority and fantasies of a post-racial America. The figure of the revolutionary anarchist functions as a stand-in for terrorism, providing Hollywood with a means of engaging with issues of global terror without trafficking in racist or anti-Muslim sentiments. The role of technology is especially pertinent as the increasing hyperreal nature of life in the twenty- first century means that the slippage between order and chaos can be brought about through physical or non-physical (cyber) means.



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