Fight Club

Must See Rating: /

Film Review

In a time when so few motion pictures leave an impact, Fight Club refuses to be ignored or dismissed. The experience lingers, demanding to be pondered and considered, and, unlike most of the modern-day thrillers, there is a great deal here to think about and argue over. Fight Club presents an overload of thought-provoking material that works on so many levels as to offer grist for the mills of thousands of reviews, feature articles, and post-screening conversations.

Pre-release interest in Fight Club was understandably high, primarily because of those involved with the project. Jim Uhls\' script is based on an influential novel by Chuck Palahniuk.

The lead actor is the ever-popular Brad Pitt, who makes his strongest bid to date to shed his pretty boy image and don the mantle of a serious thespian. Those dubious about Pitt\'s ability to pull this off in the wake of his attempts in movies such as Seven Years In Tibet and Meet Joe Black will suffer a change of heart after seeing this film. Pitt\'s male co-star and the protagonist, Ed Norton, is widely recognized as one of the most intelligent and versatile performers of his generation. Furthermore, Fight Club\'s director, David Fincher, has already made a huge impression on movie-goers with only three movies to his credit: Alien 3, Seven (starring Pitt), and The Game.

The film begins by introducing us to our narrator and the protagonist, Jack, who is brilliantly portrayed by Norton. In Fight Club, the actor fits perfectly into the part of a cynical but mild-mannered employee of a major automobile manufacturer who is suffering from a bout of insomnia. When he visits his doctor for a remedy, the disinterested physician tells him to stop whining and visit a support group for testicular cancer survivors if he wants to meet people who really have problems. So Jack does exactly that - and discovers that interacting with these victims gives him an emotional release that allows him to sleep. Soon, he is addicted to attending support group meetings, and has one lined up for each night of the week. That\'s where he meets Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter), another "faker." Unlike Jack, however, she attends purely for the voyeuristic entertainment value.

On what can be described as the worst day of his life (an airline loses his luggage and his apartment unit explodes, destroying all of his possessions), Jack meets the flamboyant Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a soap salesman with an unconventional view of life. Since Jack is in need of a place to live, Tyler invites him to move in, and the two share a "dilapidated house in a toxic waste part of town." Tyler teaches Jack lessons about freedom and empowerment, and the two begin to physically fight each other as a means of release and rebirth. Soon, others find out about this unique form of therapy, and Fight Club is born - an underground organization (whose first and second rules are: "You do not talk about Fight Club") that encourages men to beat up each other. But this is only the first step in Tyler\'s complex master plan.

In addition to lead actors Pitt, Norton, and Bonham Carter, all of whom do impeccable work, there is a pair of notable supporting characters. The first is Meat Loaf (Meat Loaf the singer), who portrays the ineffectual Bob. It\'s a surprisingly strong performance, with the singer-turned-actor capturing the nuances of a complex character. Jared Leto, (The Thin Red Line), is the blond Angel Face.

Told in a conventional fashion, Fight Club would have been engaging. However, Fincher\'s gritty, restless style turns it into a visual masterpiece. The overall experience is every bit as surreal as watching Kubrick\'s A Clockwork Orange. This is a tale that unfolds in an eerie alternate universe where the melodies of life have the same rhythm as in ours but are in a different key. Fincher also shows just enough restraint that his flourishes seem like important parts of the storytelling method instead of gimmicks. And there are a lot of them. In one scene, a character\'s apartment is laid out like a page in a furniture catalog, complete with text blurbs superimposed on the screen describing the various pieces. There