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Fight Club

(1999) rated: R

Director: David Fincher

Starring: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter, and Meat Loaf.

Synopsis: Adapted from the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, this movie is about an insomniac who realizes that his life cannot be pacified by consumer culture. He attempts to overcome his insomnia by going to support groups for various diseases, but a eccentric woman named Marla ruins it for him. He meets up with a soap salesman named Tyler Durden, and the two of them invent 'fight club'. The first rule of fight club: you don't talk about fight club. Their concept of channeling aggression catches on and grows out of control.

Review: I am Jack's awestruck face. It's not for everyone, but it is a great movie. After reading the book, my respect has only increased. I would place this movie as one of the best film adaptations ever made. It follows the book closely and keeps true to all of the book's themes. It even adds to the book in a lot of respects, which makes it even more amazing. The story may seem odd, and, well, it is, but it really does make for a good movie with lots of dark humor, gripping suspense and social satire.

It's a story that speaks to a generation raised with commercialism, sex, and violence. Its no wonder that people like Roger Ebert just don't get it. Those who complain about its violent content or anarchist themes are just missing the point; yet another sad reminder that people need to have everything spelled out for them. What makes the story good is that it challenges you to confront your darker nature, and it expects you to draw your own conclusions.

Besides the extraordinary script adaptation by Jim Uhls, there are two things that make this movie great. First is the direction by David Fincher, whose other credits include Alien 3, Seven, and The Game. This film could not have been pulled off if it weren't for Fincher's imaginative and stylish direction. The second standout is Edward Norton's performance as the unnamed narrorater, which is absolutely inspired. This film places him at the top of his field; he is now unquestionably a great actor.

Brad Pitt (reprising his role as the crazy guy from 12 Monkeys) and Helena Bonham Carter are excellent in their respective roles as well, but Norton still stands out. In fact, the movie probably has the perfect cast (even the SDI's DreamCasts lab couldn't have done a better job!). Hell, even Meat Loaf shines as Bob, a hulking testicular cancer patient with "bitch tits".

In the end, I am left amazed at how many things came together so well in this movie, and it's a Hollywood movie to boot! From the direction to the script to the acting to the casting to the editing to the soundtrack - it doesn't end, everything is just perfectly done in this movie. Do yourself a favor and get the DVD so you can listen to Edward Norton and David Fincher rant about Neitzsche, zeitgeist, and schadenfreude during their commentary. Simply a great movie.

Did you notice:
• The subliminal images of Tyler Durden in the first quarter of the film?
• The names on Edward Norton's character's nametags are all references to Robert DeNiro characters (ex: Travis) or characters from Planet of the apes (ex: Cornelius).
• The driver's licenses on the back of Tyler's door
• The nausiating subliminal frame at the end of the movie
• After the car crash, Tyler pulls Ed Norton's character out of the driver's seat!

• Do you own your possessions? Or do they own you?
• Will you ever order soup again?
• Do the violent and anarchistic themes detract from the film?
• Did you know who Tyler was before it was revealed?

Fight Club (official site - flash 3)
Roger Ebert's review of Fight Club
Fight Club (IMDB)

A Clockwork Orange
The Game
Raging Bull
The Graduate

The Store:
Fight Club (DVD)
Fight Club (VHS)
Fight Club (Book)
Fight Club: Original Motion Picture Score (CD)

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