Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 127 minutes
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After much anticipation, Mr. Fincher’s opus is finally upon us, but what exactly is “Fight Club”? An action film? A romantic comedy? An anarchist’s cookbook? The most gloriously f**ked-up journey of self-discovery in the history of cinema? No, that last one would probably be “Santa Sangre”, to which this film bears more than a small resemblance, but “Fight Club” is a bit of all these things and a well placed middle finger to the American middle class and the First Church of IKEA.
Jack (Edward Norton) is an office drone torn apart by insomnia and the meaninglessness of consumer culture. He briefly finds solace in the emotional release of disease and addiction support groups until another faker, Marla Singer (Helena Bonham-Carter) starts attending all of the same meetings.
Unable to release or sleep, Jack’s fate is sealed when Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) hijacks his life. Tyler is everything Jack wants to be, and after a chance encounter and a night of heavy drinking, the pair deliberately fight each other to test what they’re made of. Energized, the pair repeats the event and attracts the attention of others. Soon, they have a name, Fight Club. As Fight Club expands, so do Tyler’s ambitions. Anarchy ensues.
Now that Kubrick’s dead, we have David Fincher. One of the most technically proficient of all directors, he’s hell-bent on exploring the possibilities of cinema. At least when he crowds the frame with information, he actually has a coherent reason WHY (ahem, Michæl Bay). This is a film that begs to be viewed more than once, just to process the incoming data directly into the framework not provided until the third act.
As much of the film relies upon the unexpected turns of the story, I’m not going to spoil anything here. There is no escape for Jack or the audience. Suffice to say that the story is about how Jack loses himself in the modern world, and his search for his identity leads to some seriously messed-up conclusions. His search may not necessarily be over at the end, but a new one by the audience may have commenced. Any film that makes you question yourself must be doing something right. – Ron Wells.
Posted on October 18, 1999 in Reviews by Ron Wells
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