Reel Reviews

Film Reviews by a Real Person, Not a Critic

Fight Club

Title: Fight Club
Year: 1999
Director: David Fincher
Starring Cast: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter
Rated: R

Reel Reviews Rating:

The first rule about Fight Club is…you do not talk about Fight Club.

The second rule about Fight Club is…you do NOT talk about Fight Club.

Looks like I’m going to have to break this rule 😉

My boyfriend and I didn’t have anything to watch on TV this past Tuesday night, so we decided to pop in the Fight Club DVD.

It’s been a while since I last saw the film, so I was glad I got to watch it again. It’s such an amazing movie with so many levels.

Based on the novel of the same name written by Chuck Palahniuk, the basic plot centers around a young white collar employee (Edward Norton) who works for the insurance department of a major automobile company. The young man narrates the story, and so the audience sees everything from his perspective. On a plane flight home from one of his business trips, the narrator meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), an enigmatic but charismatic soap salesman. Tyler leads the narrator to question his humdrum, materialistic life and his need for consumer goods. Together they create Fight Club, a group that allows men to briefly free themselves of the shackles of civilization and consumerism, and revert to basic primal instincts. Their small group grows and evolves, to a point where the narrator starts to realize that Tyler’s agendas grow more ambitious- and more dangerous.

The title of the movie is very deceptive. It gives the impression that it’s only about these two guys that create a club in which men beat the hell out of each other. But it’s so much more than that. Fight Club is an intelligent social commentary about the three Cs: capitalism, consumerism, and commercialization. Tyler put it best when he remarks to the narrator, “The things you own end up owning you.” Fight Club is about men finding what they’re really capable of. It’s about questioning the meaning of your life and what you can do with it.

Edward Norton and Brad Pitt are spectacular in their roles, serving as perfect foils of each other: Norton as the skinny, mousy guy with the boring 9 to 5 job; Tyler with the chisled body, always speaking his mind, someone who doesn’t take orders from anyone. Helena Bonham Carter was also great as Marla, the odd woman who both irritates and fascinates the Narrator.

Fight Club also has really witty dialogue- quotable stuff, if you will. One of these days I really should read the book. I don’t know how closely the film follows the book, but I have to say that Palahniuk is a brilliant writer. The Narrator’s dry comments are so smart but sardonic at the same time, and Tyler’s rants on corporate culture are so well done, they really make you think about your own life and your material possessions- do you really own them, or do they really own you? Is it really important to work your ass off your entire life at a meaningless job so you can afford to buy more stuff you don’t really need? Those are some of the questions this movie provokes.

A friend of mine once said that people either love Fight Club or hate it if they watch it for the first time. I think it’s mainly because of the level of violence. Yes, there are some scenes in which men beat the living shit out of each other. Their faces look like raw hamburger, and they spit out loose teeth. It’s nasty, and some people get put off by that sort of thing. But if you can get past the violence, you will see a brilliantly made film.

Another reason I think that people may not like this movie is because of its message. The whole movie promotes anti-mainstream society, anti-corporation, anti-consumerism, and anti-materalism. The second half of the movie adds anarchy to the mix, taking these messages to a dark and almost frightening level. For example, there’s one disturbing scene I didn’t like that involved Tyler threatening a random man at a convenience store. Although Tyler explains the reasons for his actions, I disagreed with them completely. Yes, Tyler Durden is scary, and a little unhinged. It makes you wonder why these men would follow him, but then you realize that Hitler was also a charismatic leader. I’m not saying that the character of Tyler Durden can be compared to Hitler; I’m just saying that a charismatic leader can get his people to do almost whatever he wants.

There is also a great twist near the end of Fight Club, and those who have seen it understand that in order to gain an even richer understanding of the film should watch it at least twice, or even three times.In sum, I highly recommend this film. I may not agree with all of its messages, but it is so well made and wonderfully written. Check it out if you get the chance. And for those of you who have seen it at least once, see it again.

By the way, for more information about Fight Club, read this Wikipedia article– but only AFTER you’ve seen the movie. After all- you don’t want to ruin the ending for yourself, do you?


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January 9, 2006 - Posted by | Action, Film Adaptation, Social Commentary

8 Comments »

  1. I’ve never watched Fight Club, because I’m a lover, not a fighter. So if it was called Love Club, I would watch it. Oh wait, I think I’ve seen the movie Love Club. I believe it’s a softcore porn.

    Comment by Marvo | January 9, 2006 | Reply

  2. Fight club is one of my favorite movies the others are…..

    Resevoir Dogs
    Pulp Fiction
    Scarface
    Any Samuri Flick (blind swordman series is my fav)
    All The Star Wars
    All The Indian Jones
    All The LOTR ‘S

    Comment by foo | January 9, 2006 | Reply

  3. Marvo– I too, am a lover, not a fighter. Still, I enjoyed Fight Club. I’ve never heard of Love Club though…does it have Shannon Tweed in it?

    foo– Judging from your list of favorite movies, I’d have to say that this is the begining of a beautiful friendship. 🙂

    I haven’t seen Scarface though, nor any samurai flicks except for Rashamon, but I don’t think that really counts. And I notice you like Resevoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, but no Kill Bill I and II to your list?

    Comment by Toni | January 9, 2006 | Reply

  4. Oh I totally love Kill Bill 1+2 I have no idea why i left them off !!!

    Comment by foo | January 9, 2006 | Reply

  5. It’s ok foo, just a slip of the mind eh?

    Comment by Toni | January 10, 2006 | Reply

  6. […] The Machinist is a great film. It’s got an intriguing plot with a great twist at the end, and Christian Bale is amazing in it. If you’re a fan of films like Memento, Insomnia, or Fight Club, you’ll enjoy The Machinist. […]

    Pingback by No Face for Film » The Machinist | March 20, 2006 | Reply

  7. […] To me, V for Vendetta draws elements from The Phantom of the Opera, Fight Club, Brazil , and 1984. You have the relationship between a young girl and a strange, somewhat unhinged man in a mask (Phantom); using violence and anarchy to change society (Fight Club); and an innocent person hunted down by a totalitarian, absolutist government (Brazil and 1984). This film (and the graphic novel) takes those elements and blends them nicely in an intriguing story that has audiences cheering for the anti-hero. […]

    Pingback by No Face for Film » V for Vendetta | March 20, 2006 | Reply

  8. this was total shit

    Comment by jerry | November 24, 2008 | Reply


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