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Fight Club

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Fight Club

Starring: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt
Director: David Fincher
Rated: R
RunTime: 139 Minutes
Release Date: October 1999
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf, Jared Leto, Eion Bailey

Review by AlexI
4 stars out of 4

He has it all - the American dream. A 15th storey glass-fronted condo, expensive furniture, highly paid job with career advancement possibilities and a wardrobe full of designer clothing. And jet he is not happy. He feels nothing. The minutes are ticking by, and form hours, days, months, years. Nothing happens. Surrounded by emptiness, he doesn't feel alive. A chance encounter with the mysterious Tyler Durden opens his eyes to the possibility that he can live a life without material goods. The two begin to fight each other, once a week, for emotional release through physical pain and suffering. There is no better way to feel alive, than to taste death. Life has suddenly got a meaning. Soon others find out about this new way of therapy and the Fight Club is born. After a little while, every major city gets its own fight club, but that's only the first step in Tyler's complex plan. But then the events start moving out of control and the two words - fight club, mean now urban terrorism..

This is more or less the plot in David Fincher's dark and disturbing film. Off course there's much more to it. "Fight Club" plays on several levels, generates many provoking thoughts and is completely open for interpretation. The plot itself (based on the novel by Chuck Palancniuk) should be enough to make an impression, but Fincher's gritty and innovative style and the Dust Brothers' acidic chemical cocktail of dark, mood-enchancing tunes, turns this film into a macabre, visual masterpiece.

The film's main person and nameless narrator is played by Edward Norton. As always Nortondelivers an exceptional performance, flowing into the role of a cynical, but mild-minded young man. This character is probably like 90% of this world's population. Tyler Durden is the black hole of his soul; he is everything our narrator isn't, and at the same time everything he wanted to be. This interesting contrast is shown in everything - from clothes and visual appearance to thoughts and feelings. Tyler's complex character is portrayed by the ever popular Brad Pitt. After 25 movies, this is his strongest performance. And believe me, he is really impressive. Helena Boham Carter is the only female lead in this film, who plays a woman that attends support group meetings purely for the entertainment value. She gets unwillingly involved in the macabre and strange events coming one after another. In addition to this talented trio, the supporting cast, consisting of almost unknown actors, is equally wonderful, including Meat Loaf and Jared Leto .

Even before the release of "Fight Club" everyone were talking about Fincher's graphical portrayal of violence. There is no point to deny that "Fight Club" is violent movie. The brutal scenes of blood and bones smashed will certainly burn into your mind. But the purpose of this horrific bloodbath is not to entertain or amuse, but to make a powerful statement. Every member of Fight Club is a victim of a dehumanizing and cynical society. There is one point in the film when Tyler asks: "How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?". Pain gives these men a sense of individuality by exploring their most primitive, barbaric instincts. Violence is here a depiction of the bestial nature of man.

Fincher really overcomes himself as he is revealing each new turn in a spiral that descends into darkness and madness. "Fight Club" is not a "politically correct" film. It doesn't show the world through rose-colored classes, it shocks and provokes because of its open depiction of the horrifying reality. Issues like fascism and the whole Nazi ideology is here shown as a metaphor for the rise of national socialism. What's making this film even more interesting is the element of satire and macabre humor. This is a very difficult combination, and it works. The director's surreal style allows scenes, that under normal surcomstances would not fit in a serious and dramatic film like this one. In one scene, our narrator's appartement is displayed like a page in a furniture catalog, complete with text blurbs superimposed on the screen describing the various pieces. Add some brilliant voice-over comentaries (by Norton), and you'll get a twice as effective scene, revealing much more about our social image, than the creepy conversations in "Se7en".

"Fight Club" is a heavy, surreal experience that really gets under the skin, refusing to be ignored. Both Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange", "Dr.Jekkyl and Mr.Hyde" and "American Psycho" come to mind, while watching this aggressive fist fight of a movie. This is actually the only film so far, that can challenge "Eyes Wide Shut" ; and like Kubrick's last masterpiece, this is a film that offers too much to absorb under one screening.

So what is this film about? Is it about troubled and self-destructive youth, the soullessness of the corporate world, or the role of love and friendship in modern society? The answer you have to find for yourself, but one thing is certain: "Fight Club" is a lasting and forceful emotional statement about modern society.

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