Fight Club (1999)
Drama, 139 minutes
Directed by David Fincher
Starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter
Why do I like Fight Club? It seems to suggest that violence and anarchy are good things, but that's certainly not something I believe. I think it comes down to the dark comedy and the strong script, coupled with excellent performances from Norton and Pitt. This is a cool world to experience, but I wouldn't want to live in it.
The story seems perfectly traditional at first. We see Norton on a plane. He's referred to as The Narrator in the credits and seems to think of himself as Jack. He encounters Tyler Durden (Pitt) and takes his business card. Jack returns home to find that there's been an explosion in his apartment, so he calls Durden and eventually asks to stay at his house for a while. Durden is a cheerful, carefree lunatic who wants Jack to punch him. The two fight on the street and decide to recruit members and form Fight Club, believing that it's an expression of freedom.
Jack spends his free time visiting support groups. We see him hugging people with testicular cancer and all manner of diseases. He enjoys letting his inhibitions go and listening to the members speak about their illnesses. After a while, he becomes aware of Marla (Helena Bonham Carter). Like him, she's a tourist visiting the various support groups. He confronts her and they agree to attend different classes.
Durden encourages Jack to stop trying to live up to the expectations of other people. As a result, Jack becomes more assertive. He challenges the authority of his boss and stops worrying about his appearance and the latest IKEA catalog. He regularly shows up for work with fresh cuts and bruises. Jack finds that he enjoys his new image. One thing he doesn't like is Durden forming a relationship with Marla.
Fight Club is set in a gritty world and makes the viewer feel unclean while watching it. Fincher is good at creating unsettling worlds and this one is similar to those found in The Game and Se7en. Durden's house appears derelict and the neighborhood is seedy. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Durden has a purpose for starting Fight Club. The recruits are assigned tasks to disrupt society and members can come from any occupational background. It's like a secret society.
Fight Club contains a major twist and I won't reveal it for those who haven't ever seen the movie. The twist elevates the movie to a different level. Subsequent viewings are enhanced because you'll notice little details you may have missed the first time. It's clever how everything ties together. The ending annoys some viewers, but it works perfectly for me. The final sequence is set to one of my favorite Pixies' songs and is probably my favorite scene in the entire movie.
Although it's not an action movie, Fight Club is a pure adrenaline rush. From the opening credits set to the pounding beat of the Dust Brothers, it rarely lets up until the relative calm of the closing scene.
I'm enjoying this project and got more out of Fight Club on yesterday's viewing than I ever have before. Just don't go out and copy the behavior it depicts.
on June 27, 2004
Fight Club is certainly not a monumental film, but it struck a chord about the modern condition. The comedy is of the blackest variety and you will have to suspend any squeamish-ness you may feel toward very violent films to reap enjoyment out of it. But all the roles are skillfully played, especially by Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden, and underlying the banality of blood and mayhem is a message...a message that perhaps life doesn't have to control us...life can be what you make it...just be carefully you do so thoughtful with positive human regard and a degree of clarity. Attempting to control life can get out of hand.
Chuck Palahnuik's novel comes to life in the adept hands of director David Fincher (of Seven fame). It is no surprise that the scenes are slickly cool, the violence is of the "in your face" variety, and we are entertained despite our misgivings. The movie has some real "Momento" moments, so I won't try to delve into the story-line to risk giving any of those away. A truly fetching role is turned in by Helena Bonham Carter as Marla Singer a chain smoking barely hanging on to life love interest of Edward Norton's. Their chemistry and interplay is terrifically authentic and dead-on funny. Brad Pitt take the show though as Tyler Durden, an ultra-confident hipster that makes soap. The lines he and Norton toss back and forth are classics to be remembered and quoted in bars, around water coolers, at support groups.
"Fight Club" is an experience you owe yourself, if not for anything more than to ponder the state of society and what is truly important. I think if you see the movie out to the end and get past the violence, you may find this message though-provoking. You just may find yourself laughing along the way.
on October 17, 2003
Well, for those of us who struggled with Chuck Palahniuk's dark, unsettling, and extremely confusing novel, this movie provided a "quick reference guide". For those who haven't read the book or put it down after several pages (can't blame them), it makes for a good -er- entertainment. Of course, that is, if your idea of entertainment is watching weak guys beat each other to the pulp. The movie managed to shred off all of its society-challenging roots. What remained was neither disturbing nor challenging. Consequently, there was no real drama in the characters' lives, they're just looking for an outlet for all the testasterone. (The support group gigs actually proved just humorous rather than appalling). While some might just go to the weight room or a good dojo, these guys chose to start a fight club. The movie glosses over the lives that these guys lived prior to the onset of events, so it's not easy to grasp why they all of a sudden becoming freaks. Palahniuk's book certainly provided more background, grotesque as it was. This is certainly not a movie for the intellectuals, but neither it is a movie for a bunch of guys getting together for some beers and a flick. It's mildly disturbing, but not nearly as disturbing as it could have been. Ed Norton is his usual ice-cool self, Pitt is his un-usual intense alter ego. No one looks convincing in fight scenes with those personal-trainer-assisted musculature and choreography. Another "could have been" movie from Hollywood.
on June 8, 2004
This movie completely transcended what I expected of it. I had put off watching it for a long time, and then one day my roommate and I popped it in. I was blown away. I've seen it a few more times since, and each time it gets better and better. There is a lot that a first-time viewer wouldn't pick up on and it's great to go back and pick those things out. The acting (Norton, Pitt, Bonham-Carter....and MEATLOAF) is fantastic, as is the direction and the effects.
The message of the movie has stayed with me ever since I first watched it - it is a fantastic commentary on our consumerism-driven culture as well as our lack of originality as a whole and our fear of deviating from the path of least resistance. I may not be a guy, but sometimes I want to be Tyler Durden...I want to laugh at someone who deserves it, and question the status quo, and.....make soap.
This is a movie that one cannot judge based on someone else's opinion (although I have tried my best to provide a very biased opinion!). You have to watch it, with an open mind, and a sick sense of humour at your disposal (this movie is also funny as hell). Watch it, live it, love it.....but whatever you do, don't talk about it. That's the first rule.
on May 29, 2004
This movie has become my favorite. I first saw it on pay-per-view a few years ago, and found it so interesting that I watched it three times that day. I've never done that before, and haven't since.
I like the fact that the movie has so many layers. Its "in your face" but its also subtle. I'm watching it again and after about the 8th time, I still see details and nuances that I've missed before - but not because I haven't noticed them in a "oh gee, look at that" kind of way. I missed them because they were intentionally MADE hard to see. Difficult to understand? Not really, more in the way of "I've never seen that in a movie before so it can't be happening now" kind of way. Except in this movie, it IS being shown that way.
Lots and lots of scenes, situations, and dialog are just plain unexpected. Off the wall, yes. But also (I hate to use this word because it sounds so "film-class 101") profound. Yes, this movie has profound moments.
If you've become addicted to this movie like I have, you have your own favorite moments in the movie, and these define you and your character at times.
I like the way contrasting views on so many topics are expressed by the "dual starring personalities". The twist of just who these people Really are, well that remains there in the background, tweaking your brain cells. Tweaking MY brain cells, anyway.
If another movie supplants this one as my favorite, I'll return to this forum and alter my story, but otherwise, I'm sticking to it.
on May 21, 2004
Fight Club. Wow, what more can I say? It has to be one of the greatest films I have ever seen in my whole life for so many amazing reasons. It is a brilliantly-acted, superbly-portrayed, beautifully captured, complex masterpiece that was easily the film of 1999. Forget the Matrix and Star Wars for a minute and watch this. You'll soon see that special effects aren't everything and that all you need is a mind-blowing script like the one on display here to make a seismic impact. The film is riddled with dark humor and sharp quotes, violent action and emotional turmoil all of which result in the demise of one man's descent into madness as the approaching millennium beckons. Upon its release the film made a big impact by word-of-mouth, but was harshly snubbed by many award show judges. In the past five years, however, it has gone on to become an uncalculated masterpiece of the highest order that not only appeals to a wide audience, but teaches a strict lesson about the fabrication and consumer-obsessed society that we live in.
Edward Norton plays Jack, a man on the verge of being the biggest loser in the world. With no friends or family and stuck in a dead-end job, he turns to victim support groups. The man suffers terrible insomnia and feeds off the depression that the other group members pour forth. His apartment later explodes, forcing him to turn to a man whom he first meets on a plane...
The man is of course Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) and in all his cocky arrogance and fast-paced way of life makes a big impression on Jack. Tyler is the complete embodiment of the guy who is bad, but we love him because of it. He steals fat from liposuction clinics which he makes into soap, before selling it back to the rich and fat ladies it once came from; urinates in the soup of the restaurant in which he works; and splices single frames of pornography into family movies. He has one main motivation in life: to disrupt social ethics and the way in which we live our lives. The people with the typical SUV, the 2.4 children and the idyllic lifestyle that everyone wants.
The two man are complete opposites - day and night, as it were. Jack moves in with Tyler when his place is destroyed, and soon finds his life completely changing. When Jack gets talked into a fight with Tyler, he is amazed by how raw and primal he feels from inside. And the rest is history. "Fight Club" is formed, a secret underground society where men meet, one-on-one prepared to go head to head bare-knuckles style. The first rule of Fight Club is: "You do not talk about Fight Club." The second rule is the same. You get the picture.
Helena Bonham Carter is really fantastic as Marla, who is another fake visiting social victim groups when she meets Jack. She drives him crazy, and the rest of the plot is pretty much too hard for me to explain. I've only seen this film twice, bt I still have a hard time explaining what lies beneath it. The genius at work, director David Fincher, has created an intricate and glowing masterpiece that unfortunately gained a reputation as a guy-film because of the violence. It's anything but, and I encourage anyone who enjoys films such as American Beauty to watch it - not for the violence, but for the lesson you'll undoubtedly learn from society's fabrication.
You can't really watch this film without seeing how beautifully-filmed it is. Filled with dark and brooding colours and tones of blues and blacks, we get a perfect view of the society in which Tyler and Jack inhabit. Most of the scenes take place at night and the run-down city just reflects the storyline completely. There's also the eye-candy on offer: I don't want to sound cliché, but Brad Pitt is just so beautiful in this film! There isn't a hotter man alive on the face of the Earth, and this factor alone makes it worth watching a million times, especially the scenes where he's in the bathtub, bedroom, dressing gown, etc. Yum yum!
OVERALL GRADE: 10/10
Fight Club was criticised because of its violence, but for me I can't really see what a fuss people were making of it. Yeah, it deserved its rating and it's not suitable for children, but I truly believe that there's nothing stomach-churning in this film that would make the faint-hearted squeamish! The film makes an impact right from the start and Jack's smart narration is a part of this completely. I haven't revealed the twist that this movie contains, but it's really smart and very well-done. Without knowning what this twist is, you might think that this is just another movie, but you'd be wrong. View it for what it is: a sharp and bright look at society and the ways in which we are told to live.
on May 20, 2004
A real twisted, thought provoking, psychiatric thriller yet I cannot help being entertained by this movie. Both Brad Pitt and Ed Norton play their parts beautifully along with a comical, interesting script and some rather interesting facts and ideas.
In every sense, 'Fight Club' excels. It's visually stunning, the cast is superb, the screenplay, directing, Fincher's fingertip touch of adapting the book, the novel itself; it's all a masterpiece and a brilliant observation of todays society and the struggles of defining yourself as a man. Fight club works in every way; as a clever, entertaining movie - as an important forum of discussion - as a remarkable music video etc etc.
The first time I saw it, I felt weird, unsure of the movie's quality. It took me a few times to fully realize the meaning of this film, and when I did, I immediately bought it on DVD. Fight Club makes you think, and above all, makes you direct your thinking in ways you haven't previously thought.
With a mind blowing conclusion, this film cannot get any better, but remember - you do not talk about Fight Club!
on May 12, 2004
You must watch carefully this film. Never let you convince by other one. You mut face this challenge. There's no promise land for you to be safe.
If your approach is merely superficial, even if you are a trivial person in the sense that Mircea Eliade defined like the absence of internal tension psiquis, then you better not assume the proposal.
But if you really are sincerely and above all free of all kind of ancestral prejuices, welcome.
This a very clever journey far beyond some life aspects you avoid talking in a conference, for instance, not even a social meeting. This films walks minute to minute on the knife's edge.
It's deeply disturbing. It bothers you, it inquires you, it challenges without a minute of rest.
What are the final reading this film proposes?
It depends on you. Do you like William Blake? Then welcome to the fight club.
Nietszche stated once that smart thought: Do you want to clim? Then don't fera the vertigo.
That's what the film deals. A journey without restrictions. A movie just for free men.
Brad Pitt shows once more his actoral gifts , and so well Norton and that nature's force this monumental and versatile actrass Helen Bonham Carter. No other actress in all the world was so adequate like her for that demanding role.
David Fincher advanced far beyond his first attempt when he gave us Seven, and in a less better build script as The game with the amazing Sean Penn.
Fincher is a weird director that has decided walk by unknown territories. Istvan Szabo , David Lynch , Taylor Hackford, Alvaro de la Iglesia, Cohen brothers, Kaurismaki brothers, Lars von Triers and Francis Ozon at this moment are the only directors who seem to have the force and the talent for following these dark passages.
Watch this film with people able to make an intelligent discussion after.
And remeber just once more, you must kill your inner dragons, because no one will make for you. No one.
And welcome to the fight club!
on May 7, 2004
I went to see Fight Club the first Saturday it opened only because Ed Norton was in it and I was impressed with his contribution to "Rounders" - I hade never heard of Norton before seeing "Rounders". In any event, the theatre was half filled with "Twenty-Something" guys apparently looking for a some violent orgiastic 'dust-up'. Many of the youngsters left when they discovered that was not the idea of the film. True, there are several scenes of pugilistic mayhem BUT, in my opinion, most people miss the whole idea. The movie is purely symbolic ... bear with me here... The story is actually about the 'Feminization of the American Male' and the movie is a very effective though cloaked response. I do not want to spoil the fun in uncovering the often times very clever symbolism so I will offer only two examples. The first is the character played by Meatloaf who is a member of the 'testicular cancer support group'. Meatloaf's character is plainly a male becoming defacto feminized as evidenced by his growth of breasts from the hormone imbalance induced from having his testicles removed. Of course his emasculation is from disease and not politics or the despicable 'Political Correctness' movement. A second humorous episode is the apparent vandalism of rolling a giant bronze sphere "statue" in down a hill through the front glass of a "fern bar". There are DOZENS of subtle, not so subtle, and hilarious symbolic offerings.
A person could EASILY write a lengthy, dry and self-important facetiously erudite exploration of the why and wherefores of the 'Feminization of the American Male' in an attempt to "spell it all out" for the dummies but Fight Club dispenses with all of that. The movie is truly not an indictment of a societies need to tame if not 'domesticate' the American Male. It simply explores how slowly moving cultural attitudes can catch the less circumspect off guard and, well, drive them nutz - literally and figuratively. I was truly disappointed by Ebert's review of the movie (to whom I usually pay attention) when he described Fight Club as 'Homosexual sado-masochism' - Caused me to wonder what kind of weird stuff he has living in his closet.
Fight Club ranks in importance with A Clockwork Orange as social commentary but, in my opinion, is much more subtle and sophisticated. Regards,
on April 24, 2004
This is my favorite movie. When I first saw the advertisements for this movie, I figured it was a stupid boxing movie (not to mention that I think Brad Pitt is way over-rated) so I didn't go to see it at the cinema. A couple of years later, I was up late at night and had nothing to do, so I watched it on HBO(or one of those similar channels). I'd forgotten the ads so I had no expectations. I just watched it unfold, seemingly leading nowhere in the first half hour. I've never enjoyed a non-adrenaline movie as much as I did this one. Edward Norton's performance is wonderful. The scene called "Jack's Smirking Revenge" on the dvd, is by itself worthy of an Oscar. Norton is believable in every second of the movie. The story is also brilliant. I read the book a while later and loved it, although I think I would be less pleased with the movie if I'd read the book first. Then I read Chuck Palahniuk's other novels. The man is a genius. Survivor, my absolute favorite novel of all time, is satire at its best. Oh yeah, the quality of the dvd is very good too.