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Fight Club Write-Off: 101 Uses For Soap
Oct 15, 2000
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:David Fincher's stylish direction, the performances, the deep themes, the comical undertones
Cons:None worth noting
Fight Club is, in every sense of the word, a cult film. Upon its release exactly one year ago, it bombed at the Box Office, met with uniformly mixed reviews, and disappeared from view without hardly sparking any debate that its pre-release controversy would normally have heralded.
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It’s a shame too, because once you get past all the violence that forms Fight Club's outer skin, it’s quite easy to see that Fight Club is a brilliant film filled with fantastic performances, stylish direction, deep themes, and darkly comical undertones. And there isn’t even a trace of self-indulgence in this 139 minute adrenaline rush of a film.
Jack (Edward Norton), our narrator of a one man’s journey through a mid-life crisis, is an Ikea obsessed insomniac who spends his nights going to a variety of disease seminars. Testicular Cancer, brain parasites, you name, Jack attends it. But eventually his plan is foiled when he meets Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter), another “faker” who attends these seminars because “they’re cheaper than a movie and there’s free coffee.” When on a business trip for the major car company he works for, Jack meets Tyler Durden, (Brad Pitt) a soap salesman who’s also a film projectionist, waiter, and just about every other profession that Tyler can find a way to add his unique trademarks to.
Once Jack’s trendy furniture filled apartment goes up in a blaze, he calls Tyler up to see if he can stay with him until he finds a new place to reside. Tyler say yes, but on one condition, Jack has to hit him. So, in the parking lot of Lou’s Bar, “Fight Club” is born. Eventually, the club catches on with other middle-aged men, and “Fight Clubs” begin popping up all over the country. Tyler escalates the objectives of “Fight Club” into “Project Mayhem,” an army created by Tyler to destroy everything dealing with consumerism.
One could argue that the reason Fight Club never caught on with the public is how it was marketed. At first glance, it looks to be nothing more than a story of a group of disgruntled men beating each other to a pulp. But wait, there’s more, Fight Club is also a lesson in anti-consumerism and fascism. These men beat the hell out of each other to feel better about themselves, something that their jobs and possessions fail to do. Ads that constantly bombard television and radio stations claim that by owning one T.V. over another, it will make you the better person. If you wear brand A over brand B, you’re more of a man than those who wear brand B. In a time where clothes make the man, Fight Club is a kick in the testicles to everything we’ve been told by our society.
Serious stuff, I know, but there are also times where Fight Club manages to be funny as hell. Ever wanted to know the secret to how your favorite soap is made? Fight Club answers it. Ever wanted to know why the people in the safety instructions for airlines look so calm? Fight Club answers it. Everything in here should certainly be filed under dark comedy, but there were often times where I was overcome by how witty this film actually is.
David Fincher, the master of stylish direction, has never been better than what he is here. The explosion in Jack’s apartment is seen in all it’s finely detailed glory thanks to Fincher and his fantastic effects team. There’s even scenes in which the director seems to be playing little jokes on the audience. For example, one scene has Brad Pitt delivering a monologue to the camera when, almost spontaneously, the filmstrip appears to begin coming off of the reel. I saw Fight Club on a DVD, so the trick had no affect on me, but, when seen in a theater, I bet there were more than just a few patrons getting out of their seats to go complain to the pimply faced 16 year old projectionist.
You won’t find a pair of leading actors more suited for their roles than you will here. Those of you who have pigeon-holed Brad Pitt into playing the wooden romantic lead in movies like Meet Joe Black are in for a surprise here. This is easily the actors best work to date, besting his Oscar nominated performance in 12 Monkeys. His performance here reminded me a lot of Tom Cruise’s in Magnolia. Both of them provide bold, energetic accomplishments of genuine acting talent that are totally unique from any previous work the actors have done. Unlike Cruise, though, Pitt’s work didn’t get near the recognition it deserved. The film’s comical undertones owe a lot to Pitt, for he provides some of the films best lines and truly seems to be having a great time playing Tyler. Edward Norton is equally excellent at playing the pawn in Tyler’s ultraviolent game of chess. Norton is simply mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
All this and I haven’t even mentioned the brilliantly conceived plot twist that occurs during Fight Club's two hour mark. For those of you caught off guard by The Sixth Sense's sentimental slop of an ending, be prepared to be dumbfounded by Fight Club's. And, unlike the previously mentioned film, Fight Club doesn’t abruptly end once the twist is revealed. Instead, it builds on the twist and actually integrates it into the entire story.
Donlee Brussel, the organizer of this here write-off, named Fight Club the best film of 1999. While I don’t necessarily think it was the best of last year (it’s definitely in my top five), there is no doubting that Fight Club reaches an apex of adrenaline story telling not brought to the big screen since Pulp Fiction.
This 1-Year-Anniversary Write-Off of Fight Club was hosted by the incredibly sexy (his words, not mine) chinaman, Donlee_Brussel. Other participants include:
For a link to each participants review, visit Donlee’s profile: http://illmatic-mind.epinions.com/user-donlee_brussel
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