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Fight Club (1999)
David Fincher's "FIGHT CLUB"
When I look forward to a film, then see the film...It never lives up to what I had imagined the film would be.
I walk away critiquing , then hating the film (because I love film and television, my standards are through the roof).
However, I have come to learn that there are times I need this process...the process of dissecting and critiquing a film/TV series to death...as it is what allows me to fully appreciate the work later. I find that I have to dissect what I don't like about it and I have to get all of those notions out of my mind.
It's a cleansing process really, It's where expectation and reality meet in my mind. They battle each other... try to scratch each others eyes out, Then they sit down and have a feast together.
That allows me to dispense with my expectations, all of my preconceived imaginary notions about what the film "is going to be" ....and then enables me to accept "what the film actually is".
The reason I start my review this way is to explain the following comment;
I hated FIGHT CLUB club when I first saw it.
My buddy and I saw the film the Saturday after it was released in the morning. He was surprised that I didn't like it, saying "this movie is amazing and it's your kind of movie...I'm surprised you didn't like it."
I remember my initial take on the film was that it existed only to show off the trick ending. I felt this because a year prior in 1998, "The Sixth Sense" had come out and that ending man. It floored people. Then it was imitated, poorly, for the next 5 years. It seemed like every film HAD to have the trick ending. I didn't realize that this ending was in the book, I should also probably explain that I had taken a tranquilizer or 2 before the film and missed 2/3 of it. Therefore, waking up here and there, then coming to and catching the ending....I didn't know what the hell I was talking about.
So...I learn that the films ending is from the Novel by Chuck Palahniuk... I take my friends words to heart & I return to the theater two weeks later to re-watch (watch) the film.
My love affair with Fight Club began immediately. The photography, the dialogue, the violence, the pacing, that Fincher cinematic style...introduced to many of us in the 80's & early 90's via epic game changing music videos (MADONNA "VOGUE"), to refined with the film SE7EN ...then driven into the skull of the film industry with a jack hammer in FIGHT CLUB. This was the film that would define the Fincher style from that moment on.
The message. The message. The message.
From the amazing cinematography of Jeff Cronenweth, the iconic performance Brad Pitt gives in the film. Knowing how it ends, dissecting how well this single fact is woven and hidden throughout the film...it was masterful. Also the scale of the movie. A film with this type of content, this message...to be presented as grandly as Fight Club is...that's a feat. It's an anomaly. It doesn't happen often.
Hollywood filters what gets through to us, they guard their reputations closely. It's a billion dollar institution that doesn't normally invest $70 million dollars into an anti-establishment piece.
And yet...there it was, clear as day (well, not really day as Fincher's is the master of nighttime photography) on a movie screen.
"You are not your job. You are not the contents of your wallet." "The things you own, end up owning you." "I wanted to destroy something beautiful." "I don't want to die without any scars." "Did you know if you mix equal parts of saw dust and frozen orange juice concentrate you can make napalm?"
And now, accepting the movie as a whole, I saw it for what it truly was...genius. A masterpiece.
This movie took a lot of beatings when it came out. It cost a ton of money, reviewers who didn't get it or were scared of it and the message it sent gave it poor reviews. Rosie O'Donnel complained about it on her talk show then spoiled the ending for everybody in the audience a week before the movie came out.
No mechanized member of the Hollywood machine would have green-lit this picture for $70 million nowadays. Can't recall the name of the man responsible for championing the film that 20th Century Fox , but I believe he was fired after the films release.
The filmmakers got away with murder honestly. It was a gift. To us, the audience, the film lovers, the truth seekers.
A brilliant story, masterfully realized on the screen.
Fight Club is not a safe movie. The fact that the film exists is a miracle. That it is ranked number 10 movie on the Internet Movie Database "Top 250 Films Of All Time" list is a testament to its power and the respect it has earned, despite the initial misgivings...my own included...with the film.
Certain films changed my life. JFK changed my life, Malcolm X changed My life...FIGHT CLUB changed my life.
I would never be the same after that film. I have since read the book and seen the film repeatedly...maybe 25 times.... And it's one of the best films I've ever seen.
You know nothing about be, but for me...that is saying a lot.
I encourage you to open your mind and see this film promptly.
Then watch it again.
It's extremely important to celebrate the accomplishment that Fight Club is.
Celebrate that it exists at all.
"What's that smell?"