Judging by the title, one could be forgiven for assuming that this is a film about extreme violence and gore. In fact, it’s much more. Adapted from the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, insomnia, soap and self-destruction stage this movie up to be a near masterpiece of filmmaking.
The film starts where it ends and after a “wait, back up a minute” line from Jack (Edward Norton – who is also the narrator), we are taken back to the start of the whole story, before we know anything about the events which are to unfold. After the visually stunning brain ride introduction you’re taken on a roller coaster ride through Jack’s life and what it means to be a man in his society.
Oppression, depression and insomnia result in Jack attending cancer support groups where he finds a perfect cure and he’s able to sleep again. However, his addiction is dented when Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) finds out about the group and attends herself. Jack’s lie is reflected by Marla’s lie (she doesn’t have testicular cancer) and the sleepless television propelled lifestyle resumes.
Jack soon forgets the support groups when he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) on a plane home from a business trip. They share the same briefcase and shortly after we realise they share the same moral principles. After the trip, Jack returns to his condo to find it blown up, the smouldering rubble smoking under the night sky.
It’s then that he decides to ring Tyler. After talking over a few pitchers of beer they decide to start brawling in a public car park. Fight Club is formed and from that moment the word starts to spread, more fight clubs are formed throughout the country.
Corporate Firms are remoulded. Rich women have their own liposuctioned lard sold back to them and homework assignments involving sadistic destruction are handed out to each of the Fight Club members. This later forms Project Mayhem, from which “war” is executed on a society these people scorn. The film from thereon twists and turns in a vacuous yet entertaining form.
Fincher is one of the very few fearless directors left. “Fight Club” stinks of fascism, delusion and anarchism. In short, it is a black comedy packing a hefty punch on the morality of life. The score is excellently suited to the film and being composed by the Dust Brothers, it accompanies every scene it’s featured on to perfection.
From an opening title sequence that takes your breath away, Fincher presents a whirlpool of cataclysmic cinematography. Flash cuts, subliminal images, fake cue dots and jumping film, Fight Club’s dark and sinister gloss captures the heart and soul of the film.
So what does Fight Club say about society? There are a plethora of answers that you could easily spout out; many people who have seen the film love it for different reasons. Whether it’s Edward Norton’s or Brad Pitt’s superb acting or Fincher’s finely crafted directing, you’ll walk away from the film feeling depressed, angered, excited and baffled. It hits home hard - an assault on personal decency and society itself.
Fight Club is a brutal film and in more ways than one. However, it’s not all about violence and, intertwined in the plot is a very cleverly strung together story about one man’s struggle against the pitfall lows of life. His fight against moral principles and ultimately, the fight against himself. I highly recommend Fight Club - a trademark film of the 21st Century, which should be seen more than once.
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