Fight Club

Since I can’t stop watching films and I haven’t updated this blog in about six days, this week is my catch-up week- with no less than 6 reviews to get caught up on. So, let’s start by following a Fincher/Pitt film with another Fincher/Pitt film. I’d tell you the name, but I’m not supposed to talk about it…

Fight Club (1999)

“Fight Club” is one of those films that will always be misunderstood. Why? Well, the short answer is that people in general are fucking stupid. I would type the long answer here, but I kinda want space to review this film. Suffice to say, it’s basically the same answer, just with more ranting.

“With a gun barrel between your teeth, you speak only in vowels.”

Insomniac insurance drone “Jack” (Ed Norton) begins to haunt self-help groups for fatal illnesses until he encounters Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a charismatic anarchist who invites him to move into his decrepit house after his condo is blown up. “Jack” and Tyler have recreational fist-fights, which expand into an underground masculinist movement. However, cracks appear in the relationship as Tyler cops off with a Goth bizarro (Helena Bonham Carter) and his pranks go from subversive to near-homicidal. The story’s deep, dark and gritty with huge helpings of pitch-black humour shovelled in wherever possible. Both Norton and Pitt are on top form here, especially Pitt who cemented his place in my “Irritatingly good-looking people who can actually act” list alongside Mr. DiCaprio and Mr. Depp with his role as Tyler Durden. Helena Bonham Carter is fantastic too, bringing an oddly sexy air to the role of the washed-out junkie, Marla. Special mention to Meat Loaf also. I just want to give him a hug.

“Fight Club” was a revelation for me back in 2001 (Yeah, it came out in 1999, but I didn’t get to see it ’til 2001) I’d seen “dark” films before but never as morbidly funny and intelligent as “Fight Club” is. I think most of this is due to the strength of Chuck Palahnuik’s source novel and the dynamic direction of David Fincher. I think that the main reason why I was slightly disappointed with “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is that it showed none of the flair that is shown here. We have flash cuts, subliminal images, jumping film and even a frame of a big ol’ penis. Whilst I’m aware of the reason why there wasn’t a phallic frame in “…Benjamin Button”, there was no reason why the film couldn’t have been as visually exciting as “Fight Club” is.

In terms of favourite scenes, I have loads. Nearly every scene has an occurance or line of dialogue I love contained within, which is surely the mark of a good film. The dialogue in particular is brilliant, with some fantastic one-liners as well as amazing spiels of speech that will be remembered for decades to come. If you can’t recite the rules of Fight Club, you haven’t watched television or talked to anyone under 60 for a long damn time.

My one problem with the film is that it seems to lose track of where it is going after Project Mayhem gets underway. Whilst I’m aware this could be intentional, there is a definite lull in proceedings that jars with the fast-paced assault on the senses that the first two acts of the film were. Plus, it gets slightly too unbelievable when compared to the all-to-real first parts. Things do pick up when we find out more about Tyler though, so small gripe.

“I am Jack’s smirking revenge.”

The ending is awesome too. It’s really one of those endings that stick in your mind for years to come. Pay attention, M. Night Shyamalan- this is how you do a twist, not your shitty, gimmicky way. Plus, you’ll never listen to the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” in the same way again. Pugilistic perfection.

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