Mischief. Mayhem. Soap.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Fight Club is a 1999 drama film directed by David Fincher, written by John Uhls, produced by Fox 2000, Rengency Enterprises, and Linson Films, and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film is based on Chuck Palahniuk's 1996 novel, Fight Club. It stars Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. The film was nominated for Best Sound Editing, but did not win.
"Gentlemen. Welcome to fight club. The first rule of fight club is: you do not talk about fight club." -Tyler Durden
A depressed and lonely insomniac meets an eccentric, crazy man named Tyler Durden. Together, they form a friendship based on philosophies of life. After becoming bored, the two create a fight club in the basement of a bar. Fight club soon becomes an immensely popular idea, and it turns more cult-like and sinister than the insomniac could've ever imagined.
Fight Club is easily one of the most unique films I have ever seen. It is so crazy and non-linear, just ignoring all the rules of filmmaking. The movie feels surreal throughout, and that adds to this just ridiculous, insane movie. It can feel like you are going crazy and you are in Edward Norton's shoes and watching this mischief and mayhem ensue. Fincher crafts this world where nothing makes any sense. The Narrator starts off as becoming an addict...to support groups. Then he meets Tyler Durden, and everything evolves into chaos. Nothing is logical or makes any sense, but it fits and works inside the movie. David Fincher has showed us the world from a depressed and disgusting point of view, so to see Tyler and the fight club happen adds a hint of fun inside of a world that is not fun.
The story makes no sense and is just shoved off to the side, which doesn't work in most movies, but it does in this. This movie is almost artistic in the way that it is shown, and the story is more like a side part of it. It evolves from a depressed insomniac to a strange friendship to a fight club to full-on terrorism. You never really get a full grasp of what's going on, but you don't really need to. You don't need to understand the Mona Lisa to enjoy it, just like you don't need to understand Fight Club to enjoy it.
Edward Norton's unreliable narrator serves as a fantastic protagonist for this movie, as he is just as crazy and just as nonsensical as the rest of the movie. It pulls a little bit of a Joker in that it doesn't always confirm whether what you are watching is real or just a possible hallucination. His confused and shy performance sets up the twist perfectly at the end, so they did a good job of giving him a solid character arc, making him extra crazy at the end when you figure out what's really going on. Brad Pitt's swagger and charism are taken to new heights in this film, as he just embraces this character that doesn't have a care in the world and will do whatever he wants. Considering that he got nominated for Best Actor for Moneyball, I'm surprised that he wasn't nominated for Best Supporting Actor or Best Actor in this role. Helena Bonham Carter does a surprisingly good American accent and makes you want to throw up with how horrible her lifestyle is.
The movie is just a ton of fun to watch. Pitt's performance and the dark humor used inside of this dark setting elevate the tone and fun of the film. It's not very pleasant and has a lot of violence, but it is entertaining and funny, and the mixture of Fincher's psychological style and Jim Uhls' writing just explodes onto the screen. I had a hard time deciding the genres, because Fincher basically just grabbed a ton of genres and threw it all in the blender to make a movie protein shake.
Finally, this may be David Fincher's best directed film. I can't exactly talk, because I haven't seen any of his movies besides The Game, but this movie has such a distinct and unique style that it has to be one of his best. Now, mind you, he's directed The Social Network, Seven, Gone Girl and more, but Fight Club is immensely popular, and Fincher did such a great job translating the ridiculous original source material to the big screen.
The first thing is the twist. While I do think that it is set up well, with The Narrator being clearly unstable and shy, but actually being the complete opposite when embracing his Tyler personality, I thought that it was fairly obvious. When Tyler is telling The Narrator not to tell Marla about him, I knew that that was going to come up later in the story. It also makes some of the previous scenes, like the car crash and some of the fights, make no sense at all, making you suspend some disbelief from certain scenes.
The movie is also pretty grotesque. It has a gross, grimy feel that is uncomfortable for some viewers, which is definitely intentional, but I think that they overplayed it. It makes the audience feel in need of a shower and that is not a feeling that you want to give to them. It makes you feel disgusting and gives you this uneasy, horrible gut feeling that I wish they hadn't used so often throughout.
There are also some scenes that are just non-sequiturs. They have nothing to do with the general plot or idea of the film, and it adds a layer of extra confusion to an already relatively confusing movie. This movie could've been shorter and felt more enticing if they hadn't added unnecessary scenes that have nothing to do with the grand scheme of things.
Lastly, this isn't exactly a negative, but if you do not like this film, you are going to absolutely hate it. You have to embrace the style and uniqueness of the movie, and if you can't do that, you'll find yourself in a vast, violent, confusing affair of craziness that some people will absolutely despise. It can be nauseating for certain people because the violence is so up close and personal, so if you have not seen this movie and don't like that kind of stuff, don't watch it (Also, why are you reading this if you haven't seen it?).
Despite some confusion and a twist that doesn't completely work, Fight Club gives the audience a fun, crazy thrill that is nothing like any other movie ever.
I will give it a Sweet rating. Age range is 16+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad)
Fun Factor: 9.5/10
Directed by David Fincher
Released on October 15, 1999
Rated R for strong bloody violence, strong sexual content, language, disturbing themes and behavior
2 hours and 19 minutes
Edward Norton as The Narrator
Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden
Helena Bonham Carter as Marla Singer
Meat Loaf as Bob Paulson
Jared Leto as Angel Face