Sunday, September 13, 2009
Fond Memories from the Grave: Resurrecting 'Fight Club' (1999)
A couple of months ago, when I saw the film 'Fight Club' for the first time, I posted a short and minuscule blurb about the movie on a certain site by the name of Rotten Tomatoes:
"Thoroughly enjoyable. A nitty, gritty narrative that takes on themes of objective consumerism, complete with violence and psychotic twists and turns. Great acting from both Norton and Pitt. Simply a must-see."
As a consensus, yes, that works perfectly and efficiently by summing up the acting and the tone. But now a couple of months later I realized that, in retrospect, this film deserved a lot more. For anyone who has had the chance to sit through 'Fight Club', I'm sure you would want to have the chance to break the first rule established by Tyler Durden and talk about how the film altered your perspective on...well...let's just say 'several things.'
'Fight Club', directed by David Fincher, is a 1999 adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel by the same name which traverses through the misadventures of a low-cut, blue collar insomniac played brilliantly by Edward Norton ('American History X', and more recently, 'The Incredible Hulk'). On an airplane, he meets a devious soap-bar salesman by the name of Tyler Durden (notoriously played by Brad Pitt) who instructs our narrator on the values of objective detachment and spontaneous opportunity. Together they form the underground street-brawling society known as Fight Club, a gathering that demonstrates the brutal barbarism of human nature under the office jackets and prosthetic dignity of societal consumerism.
'Fight Club' is not about one man's ascension through society by fighting his way up to the top. It was not about chintzy comebacks and underdog fables. Rather, the message of 'Fight Club' is quite universal. Palahniuk, indirectly through Fincher, tells a story of duality and mental imprisonment that resonates outward to the viewer and breaks the confinement of the movie screen. It sums up inner resentment, emotional suppression, and human struggle. By the time the credits roll, your brain will probably feel like it had endured through a strenuous psychological brawl. Norton's character meets and falls in love with a woman named Marla (played by Helena Bonham-Carter), and he aptly quotes to her at the film's resounding climax: "You met me at a very strange time in my life."
Indeed. 'Fight Club' is rife with perfected dark humor and memorable dialogue. The acting is simply intense, and the message will persist within your thoughts for days afterward.
I think that does this film justice.