Film Review: Fight Club
'Fight Club' stars Edward Norton as a corporate nobody, bored with his existence is the rat race. He meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a soap seller whose anarchic ideas attract Norton. They move in together and conceive of 'Fight Club', a group of men re-affirming their lost masculinity be beating each other to a pulp. However, Durden clearly has plans on a grander scale. Helena Bonham-Carter plays Marla, the girl that inevitably comes between the two friends.
This movie has divided people as much as 'The Blair Witch Project' has done. You are either going to like it or hate it. There is precious little middle ground. As for me, I loved the first 120 minutes, and am still confounded by the last 30.
I have absolutely no fault with the acting. Brad Pitt gives his best performance ever. The part is a gift for an actor who oozes as much onscreen magnetism as Pitt does. He can play an unerringly plausible psycho like few other actors can. Norton, who is perhaps the best actor of his generation, is once again perfect, brilliantly catching his unnamed character's growing sense of helplessness and frustration. Carter, an actress who seemed permanently sewn into her corset, astounds as the entirely modern and vampish Marla.
Fincher's direction is typically slick and inventive. The opening credits are spectacular, the best this year. His skill with the camera is unquestioned, and he brings the same dark, nihilistic look to this film as he did to 'The Game' and 'Se7en'. The movie is propelled by a thumping dance music track from the Dust Brothers. The use of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) is often highly inventive, and shows that it is not simply the domain of the brainless action pic.
The script is where most people will have their biggest problems. It is a rare mainstream movie that tries to be intelligent and thought provoking. For the most part it succeeds. Its theories about the emasculation of modern man are nothing if not topical. It attempts to show how men, as a symptom of the feminist movement, have lost their place in society, and that it is younger men who are feeling the effects. The modern idea of the superwoman (as one who can successfully juggle both career and family) has left them with no place to go, but back to their violent past. And before someone attacks me for this, I am not criticising the feminist movement. This is a valid sociological point about today's twenty-something generation. 'Fight Club' also has a sense of humour that is as black as coal, which is again something it was criticised with before and after release. What these critics do not realise is that life is often darkly humorous, and that humans have the ability to find something funny in events which should be nothing more than tragic.
The claims that this film is 'fascist' are ridiculous. It seems that there some elements who prefer to see life as nothing more then a Norman Rockwell painting. This film dares to show the colour of life, the people so disenchanted with their meaningless existence that they long for either death or anarchy.
However, the twist in the story is controversial. I will not reveal it, but I left the film at a loss about what to think. There is a danger in that your opinion of the ending will colour your point of view about the whole film. The film is also very violent, but the protests are coming from people because the violence is too realistic. It dares to show a modern audience what exactly happens to somebody who is beaten to within an inch of death, and not the sugar coated little 'cut and scratch' that Hollywood normally gives us.
This is a film that I would definitely recommend, as it dares to challenge the audience. If it doesn't promote a healthy amount of after movie debate, then nothing will. This is possibly the most thought-provoking movie this year.
Check out an opposing view on this film with Robert's review