Movie Mondays 2: Fight Club (1999)

I realize that by doing a film review I am breaking the first and second rules of Fight Club, but I don’t think that Tyler Durden will mind.

Fight Club, a 1999 release, was directed by David Fincher, who has had an extremely successful and lucrative career, having directed such critically acclaimed films as; Zodiac, Se7en (or Seven as it is sometimes known), The Social Network, and most recently, Gone Girl. Fight Club stars Edward Norton and Brad Pitt as the two male leads, and Helena Bonham Carter as the female lead. Outstanding performances are given by Pitt and Norton, in their roles as Tyler Durden and the nameless narrator respectively.

The two both bring life and personality to their respective roles and interact well onscreen. I will say that Carter’s character is a bit bland, seemingly only there to play the love interest for the narrator; however, she does get one of the best and funniest lines in the entire film, if not in all film. Due to the inappropriate nature of the line, I cannot repeat it here. Instead, I encourage you to watch the film, so you can hear the line for yourself.

The plot of Fight Club is seemingly simple; however, there are subtle layers to the film that are quite profound in many ways. There are hints of psychology and philosophy throughout, but the film never delves too deep into either of these subjects

In the film, Edward Norton’s character (who remains nameless throughout the film) is your average man with an average cubicle office job. Things are not, however, perfect or normal for Norton’s narrator. He has insomnia that his doctors tell him is psychosomatic (a physical illness or other condition caused or aggravated by a mental factor), and to cure this, he starts going to group therapy sessions pretending to be a victim. His ‘therapy’ is interrupted, however, when he meets Marla Singer (Carter) a fellow group therapy parasite. The narrator also meets Tyler Durden (Pitt) on a business flight, and after an explosion in his apartment, stays with Durden in his home. The two later start an underground fight club after fighting outside a bar, and things start to spiral out of control from there.

Fight Club is perhaps most famous for its twist towards the end of the film, which I am not going to spoil here. However, I do recommend watching the film at least twice, because once you know the twist, you notice new things about the film that you didn’t before, and can look at the film in an entirely new light.

The movie has elicited mixed reactions from both critics and audience members alike, but over the years has garnered a mostly positive reputation as a quality example of American cinema. The film currently ranks number ten on IMDB’s (Internet Movie DataBase) user-voted top 250 movies of all-time list (sandwiched between two Lord of the Rings films), and on the popular reviewing site Metacritic, has a 66 out of 100 rating based on 35 critics. At the box office, the film bombed spectacularly, only earning back 37 million of its estimated 63 million dollar budget according to IMDB. However, the film has become a huge cult hit, standing among others like Firefly and the original Planet of the Apes.

Much of the film’s criticism comes from individuals who believe that after viewing the film, men will be encouraged to go out and start their own fight clubs. Concern has also been raised, mostly by parents, that the film’s glorification of manly violence will lead to their children and teenagers starting fights. As with all such controversial things, the film was one of the most talked about subjects of the 1990s, which probably served to heighten the popularity of the film despite its criticism, as many people saw the movie just so they could take part in the debates.

For some viewers, Fight Club may be too violent and vulgar; however, if that type of content doesn’t bother you, give this film a shot.