David Fincher's 1999 adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel, Fight Club is visceral, like a punch in the the chest. It is unapologetic, gritty, subversive, and at times blatantly sexual. And it's funny. It is a story about what happens when a movement that promises freedom becomes more constricting then conformist society ever was.
Think Animal Farm with abnormal psychology and bloody, bone-crunching fistfights. The unnamed anti-hero of this film, Narrator (Edward Norton), is a disturbed office worker who can't sleep at night. His insomnia presents reality as some kind of waking dream. Well, he doesn't look as bad a Christian Bale in The Machinist, but he's still pretty rough in appearance, and he can barely work up enough enthusiasm to go to work in the morning
. Because he works repossessing unsafe cars after fatal accidents, he gets to travel a lot, but his life remains at a virtual standstill. All this changes when he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a nihilist rebel who believes humanity should be reduced to its most primal state. After Narrator's apartment blows up under suspicious circumstances, he goes to live in Tyler Durden's home, which must have been a beautiful house at one time but is now repellent in its decay and inefficiency.
Soon, Tyler and his new house-guest start a Fight Club, which temporarily releases men's feelings of inadequacy minus a few teeth, and might seem like a great idea if you're into boxing and WWE. Add the Borderlinish, suicidal Marla Singer and the men's own twisted psyches, and you've got a recipe for disaster. The first thing that strikes me about this film is the overwhelming loneliness. Narrator is a cynic, so much so that he alienates himself and everyone around him.
"How could Tyler thing it was a bad thing that Marla Singer was about to die?" he muses when Marla swallows a bottle of Xanax and invites Tyler over for a night of lovemaking. In my "Favorite Characters" description of Edward Norton's character, I said this: "like Chuck Palahniuk's character Victor Mancini, the sex addict at the center of the book and film Choke, "Narrator" pretends to hold the human race in contempt, but at the same time cries out in pitiful loneliness, 'love me, love me, love me!!' I think we cynics can relate." I think this is pretty accurate.
Although his character is dark-dark, I cannot help but sympathize with his urge to make things right after he finds out the truth about Tyler. This is not a film for everyone. The violence comes in droves, and no character presents themselves as noble. Furthermore, it is not really a realistic presentation of it scontent, and is more stylish than literal in its subject matter. But it makes you think while it entertains you, and I cannot really find any movie to compare it to. It is utterly original.
Note- This film is a work of fiction and any decision to partake in an actual Fight Club would be utter stupidity.