Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club is a movie that will kick you in your teeth. It’s the adaptation of a sort of anarchist handbook by David Fincher, the man who gave us the grisly masterpiece Se7en. Fincher’s latest re-teaming with Brad Pitt is a disturbingly gritty tale of politics and violence.

Ed Norton plays our un-billed narrator through the harrowing tale of fascist propaganda and anti-social behavior. Norton dwells in a world of cubicles and consumerism. He meets Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden on a flight and the two instantly connect. Norton moves in with Pitt into something resembling the Munster’s house once his own apartment has exploded. Pitt and Norton find the therapeutic realization through fighting. These fights grow larger and build up into clubs where all the guys are fighting to get in to get their head slammed on concrete. These clubs start turning into neo-fascist soldiers of fortune as they try to ambitiously grow and destroy the reality of consumerism. It kind of spins out from there and never returns back.

David Fincher’s direction is ultra slick and highly stylized. He is one of the most lavish and intriguing visual artists of this decade. He really knows how to pump out excitement and vivid hypnotism from striking images and tones strewn apart every inch of letter-boxed form. Norton has the same commanding presence and magnetic performance that he flashed so brilliantly in last year’s American History X. Norton is the one that runs the emotional gambit and shows just how it should be done. Brad Pitt takes on a role none have seen (Does anyone remember Pitt splicing porn images into children’s films with Legends of the Fall?) and once again proves there’s a calculating and superb actor behind the pretty face. Helena Bonham Carter goes leaping against type to play the bumbling Goth love interest with such charm and humor. And Meat Loaf will really surprise as a pathetic breast enhanced friend to Norton.

Fight Club speaks to a world where men feel they have been robbed of what has historically defined them; a world with Oprah, The English Patient, and self-help groups telling them to cry, be kind, rewind. All of the social consciousness has made some men feel less like their upright ancestors. So Fight Club‘s proposition is that to freely express your emotions you need to either be pummeled into ground round or be the one doing the pummeling. The notion is a tad laughable. Fight Club is a flick with so much on its mind to say that it brisks from topic to topic sometimes not dwelling as much as it could. The twist ending is unnecessary and is something that truly comes out from left field.

Fight Club has been criticized for its promotion of violence, but if anyone actually sees the film the violence is gruesomely repellent. No kid is going to walk out of this and think it would be cool to start a Fight Club in their local suburb. The movie is an interesting mirror to our always-on-the brink commercial society, and its push toward a kinder gentler civilization and its effects on the male psyche. Despite some oddities at the end and some fascistic rhetoric, Fight Club is an exciting blend of suspense, action, and dark humor. Go ahead and break the first rule of Fight Club – tell your friends about the adrenaline kick this movie is.

Nate’s Grade: A

This movie also revisited and analyzed in the article, “1999: The Greatest Year in Film? A Review Re-View.”

About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on September 3, 1999, in 1999 Movies, Review Re-View and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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