Fight Club Movie Review

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The first rule of Fight Club is "Do not talk about Fight Club."

So I'm breaking the rule. I figured you'd want to hear about it.

Invoking memories of The Matrix, 12 Monkeys, Crash, and American Beauty, Fight Club has had a lot of hype behind it for close to a year now. Is it deserved? I'm still trying to figure that one out. I saw the film 6 hours ago. I liked what I saw. I'm just not sure what I saw any more.

Fight Club is the story of Jack (Edward Norton), a mild-mannered day-job schlub/insomniac. To combat his lack of sleep, Jack takes comfort in various support groups for ailments he doesn't have, where he finds a sudden freedom from life's pressures, surrounded by people on the verge of recovery or the verge of death. Soon enough, Jack becomes "addicted" to the support groups, but things get worse when the freakish Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) tries to take over his space -- obviously getting off on the same thrill as Jack.

Soon, Jack is back where he started, and on a flight home from yet another business trip, he encounters Tyler (Brad Pitt), a nutty character reminiscent of The Mad Hatter, William S. Burroughs, and The Unabomber all rolled up into one. When Jack arrives at home, he finds his condo mysteriously blown up, and he ends up moving in with Tyler in a craphole of a house. Tyler takes Jack down a road of self-discovery, mainly through violence, and together they found Fight Club, an underground bareknuckled boxing society -- a big step beyond "self-help."

As the movie progresses, so does the darkness of Fight Club. Its membership skyrockets, and its extracurricular activities turn subversive. The explosive ending introduces a twist a la The Sixth Sense, which finally helps the movie make some sense.

Along the way, Fight Club is quite a ride. Director Fincher (Seven) knows atmosphere, and atmosphere is what you get, starting right with the opening credits, which feature a ride through the human brain. Norton narrates the entire film, which puts you right inside his head. The acting is superb, and Meat Loaf is quite hilarious as an enormous man with no testicles and two giant breasts (I'd explain, but...).

Fight Club is not going to appeal to everyone the way Sixth Sensedid. It's bloody and violent (hence the name), but it's as unique a film as you're likely to see this year. I don't wanna see any hate mail about this review... or else we're gonna have to take this outside.

Addendum: Of special note is Fight Club's acclaimed DVD, a two-disc set with a ton of extras, outtakes, promo spots (including Norton's infamous "no one has the right to touch you in your bathing suit area" bit), and four commentary tracks. Exhaustive, exhausting. Highly recommended.

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Fight Club Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: R, 1999


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