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Fight Club (1999)

Film review: Fight Club (1999), directed by David Fincher

DVD coverThe un-named lead character, let’s call him the Narrator (Edward Norton) is an insomniac who starts attending support group meetings when his doctor won’t give him medication to help his condition. However, it’s not an insomnia support group he attends, but any other support group he can find, and he pretends to be one of them, whether it’s about testicular cancer or whatever.

As luck would have it, he discovers another support group impostor, Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter), and they decide to split the groups between them to avoid going to the same ones.

When his apartment building blows up when he’s away on a business trip, the Narrator phones up a guy he met on the business trip from which he just returned – Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). They get into a fist fight, for the “fun” of it, and find it such a liberating experience they start a “Fight Club”, so that other men can pummel one another senseless just to feel more alive. And that’s just for starters …

Also starring Meat Loaf as Bob Paulson, a.k.a. the big guy with the big boobs.

Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club is in the top ten of the Best Movies of All Time According to IMDb users, a.k.a. it’s currently #10 on the IMDb Top 250 list. Not without reason, of course.

Fight Club is a strange film, no two ways about it, and things get really rather bizarre. I mean, c’mon, a guy’s home explodes so he decides to move in with some guy he just met on a plane? And they decide to have fisticuffs because that’s a great idea? And, without going into any details whatsoever, it spirals from there into definite “WTF?!” territory.

But it’s darn good, I tell ya, very well executed. It even has a Shyamalan-esque twist ending, which I don’t recall having seen coming, despite actually having being told about its presence previously. It’s really fascinating. Not me not remembering the twist, but the twist itself.

There are a lot of people in the film, of course, but there are only a handful of core characters – much like Se7en, actually. Not that the films share anything else … well, except for Brad Pitt and a certain level of grit. There’s a level of dark comedy to Fight Club as well, but considering it’s from the mind of Palahniuk, who also wrote the book on which Choke is based, that doesn’t surprise me.

If you don’t like to see people punching the crap out of one another, you might want to give Fight Club a miss … or at least fast-forward through the fighting scenes, because the film really is worth seeing despite the violence.

4.7 out of 5 soaps.

Perfect Brad Pitt

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) where she lives with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel. Will get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted on the way.

3 thoughts on “Fight Club (1999)

  1. Fight Club has been my favorite movie since I was a teenager. I don’t know if it is the chaos and destruction or the beauty in it, but I just LOVE this film so much. It helps that Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter are in it. 🙂

  2. I’m one those who had read the book years before the film was even a twinkle in Fincher’s eye.

    Confession: I started out reading your review mainly in hope that you would not spill any spoilers (which you have not), but was also curious to see what a newer generation’s take might be on a much talked about film from 14 years ago.

    Oddly, there is a specific point to both the book and the movie that is rarely addressed in reviews – and here is no exception – and that is the true nature of Freedom, or, what it really means to be free and to fulfill that desire.

    To be more specific, freedom from societal restraints, including financial woes such as credit burdens and mortgages, in the workplace and in all relationships – freedom from others’ expectations of how we should think, feel, react, and emotional pain and repression expected to take from others. But most especially, the book/movie is about the freedom from our own self-judgment and self-restrictions.

    In real life, people do “punch the crap out of each other” – they do it emotionally. And we do it to ourselves.

    Maybe that sounds deeper than it should, but the book itself is indeed more introspective – as books tend to be. The ideas and themes in both the book/movie, are “in the extreme” (so, sure – weird) in order to convey the message that the only real thing that is holding you back from freedom is yourself.

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