Fight Club is an adrenaline rush of a film. A movie that takes you in, twists you around, tests your limits, and leaves you stunned. It is an incredibly dark comedy, an inspired satire, and, all around, a great film.
As the film opens, we are taken through the body of the Narrator (that is how he is credited, for very good reasons), until we arrive looking down the barrel of a gun jammed in his mouth. The Narrator is played by Edward Norton, in a performance full of so much sarcasm, Kevin Spacey had better start watching his back. Here Norton once again proves that he is one of the best actors appearing in film today. His role is a tricky one, but he pulls it off so easily, it seems like child's play.
The gun is being held by Tyler Durden played by Brad Pitt, who also pulls off a tricky performance. Pitt is a very good actor who is unfortunately cursed with sex-symbol status, and therefore, not taken too seriously. Here, though, he once again shows that he is an actor.
Shortly after this, we learn that buildings throughout the city are wired to explode in minutes. As this is explained, we are given a spectacular special effects sequence where the camera swoops down the side of the high-rise, passes through the street, into the garage of the building, through a van, and right into the explosive device. The film uses this effect a few other times in the film, and all to good effect.
With this setup, the film flashes back to when the Narrator had a bit of insomnia. His job is tedious, the stuff in his apartment doesn't seem as nice anymore, and he goes to support groups just to sleep at night. He has a nice thing going until another `tourist' shows up to one of his support groups. She is Marla, played with fun and a strange sadness by Helena Bonham Carter.
Now the insomnia reappears, he is traveling for work excessively, and he just happens to meet Tyler on an airplane. They talk for a bit, and the Narrator is intrigued by him. When he returns home, he finds that it is a pile of rubble; blown out of the building. His decision: call Tyler. They have a drink, he asks to stay at Tyler's place (after some convincing), and something strange happens. Tyler asks the Narrator to hit him. Thus, the unofficial start of Fight Club.
From here, the movie centers on the club and how it is gradually knocked up levels, until we begin to realize what Tyler's philosophy really is and its effects on the Narrator and the other members.
David Fincher, who has explored the dark side of human nature in Seven, directs the film in such high style that there is never a dull shot in the film. He proves he is a visionary director, and I am sure he will have many more opportunities to bring his vision to the screen.
It is not often that a film is able to capture its time so perfectly. Earlier this year, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was able to satirize the censorship issue. Now comes Fight Club, a film about Generation X and corporate America that is brutally honest. You leave the theater knowing that Tyler's actions are too extreme and anarchistic, but there is something in his words that speak to anyone who is fed up to some degree with the way our society is. Fight Club is a film worthy of multiple viewings. The first time, it is a visual experience. The next time, something deeper appears. By the third time, if you already haven't, you should see it with some of your more intelligent friends and discuss the issues the film deals with; and there are a lot.
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