Fight Club (1999)

“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your f***ing khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your f***ing khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”

“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your f***ing khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”

The first rule about fight club is, you do not talk about fight club… Well, that was a quick review, now what? (Checks watch) The first rule of project mayhem is you do not ask questions. Alright, alright, I get it, but seriously, let’s talk about fight club and most importantly, soap. I am Jack’s lack of surprise that I didn’t launch with this review. Ok, I’m done with the references, for now. I know, I know this is my second David Fincher film but, he is one of my favorite directors next to Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino. Fight Club is Fincher’s first book adaptation of the novel of the same name by author Chuck Palahniuk. Reading the book Fight Club and watching the film version you’ll realize they are not the same. I’m a firm believer that if you read the book first it’s ok to see the movie adaptation to see how the director interprets the content, but, if you see the film version first than go to read the original story, there could be some disappointment. I’m not saying everyone feels that way, it’s just how my mind is. I saw Fight Club first than read the novel, after reading the novel, I actually prefer the film. There’s something in the simplicity of the characters motives that they don’t want to be like the everyday man that speaks to you every time it’s on. They don’t give a F*** about having nice clothes, buying a car or sleeping in a nice house (seriously don’t know how no one got cancer from living on Paper Street).

Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) believes no one person is more special than the other. Nobody is a unique butterfly. This could be seen as hypocritical as he is the “cult leader” of fight club and project mayhem. Although it may seem he’s not getting his hands dirty he still pulls his weight by going on his own destructive assignments. The message holds true to reality. As much as we like to think that we are better off than the next person who has less than us, we aren’t, we are all going to be buried the same amount of feet down below. It’s one of the best lessons the film teaches us. We are all the same, we are human; to put it nicely. The emotionless insomniac narrator (Edward Norton) at the beginning, needed the fancy condo with the yin yang coffee table, the exercise bike and the decent wardrobe to feel like he was someone of importance. That couch was everything to him, it was the last couch he would ever buy. The high stressful day job that’s placed on his shoulders is enough to turn a mild-mannered person into the polar opposite narcissist, creating a sort of maniac who’s destined to organize controlled chaos. As the plot progresses, we start to see his alter ego come out, but Fincher is such a master that, he keeps us at bay by the audience constantly second guessing who the narrator is for 3 quarters of the movie.

But seriously, who would want to live at that house on Paper Street? Definitely filled with rodents and other creatures, tepid water and zero insulation, the Narrator finally hit rock bottom (this may be my age but I don’t know how he got a good nights sleep on that mattress). I love the subtlety Fincher drops throughout the film when the two talk about their fathers, Fincher nearly let’s slip but still holds on to the mystery. Just as our protagonist is able to cry with the big moosey Bob (Meat Loaf) in comes the tourist, the faker, we’ll call her Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter). If there’s another faker around, the narrator can’t cry or sleep better than a baby causing the creation of Tyler Durden; and thus, fight club is born.

To say Marla and the narrator’s relationship is strange is a gigantic understatement. They start off by splitting up support groups (really though how could one person have both parasites, it’s ludicrous) to Marla calling Tyler after an attempted cry for help kind of suicide. The love hate relationship subplot throughout gives the audience a break from the violent main plot and gives our characters more depth to them, with the possibility of finding love at the worst times in their lives. Not that they don’t have any depth in the first place by nearly having Raymond K Hessel S*** himself at gunpoint because Tyler wants the best for him. The lesson being, be the best person you can be. Fincher has this ability to depict different types of mental illness throughout this film whether that’s insomnia, depression and the high stress and anxiety a job can give someone. Pitt and Norton play to the strength of of the script by the aid of Fincher’s direction.

Fight Club features familiar Fincher fashion (Say that five times fast) of incredible camera work by cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth as the two have paired up for majority of Fincher feature films. It’s weird seeing Jared Leto (Angel Face) as a blond and one of my favorite scenes is when the narrator beats him to a pulp saying, “I wanted to destroy something beautiful.” I get chills every time. Once the big mic drop happens, the flash backs are some of my favorite moments seeing the narrator beat himself up, pass a bottle of beer to no one and chemically burn his own hand. The narrator and Tyler have such a beautiful destructive relationship, it’s hard to picture two different actors for the roles. Edward Norton knocks it out of the park and I’m always puzzled by Brad Pitt getting overlooked as a skilled actor playing so many vastly different roles. Helena Bonham Carter is creepy, a bit disgusting and such a huge train wreck (“the condom is the glass slipper of our generation”). There are so many quotable lines in this film and l previously mentioned in post, Fight Club is one of my favorite movies, it’s definitely in my top 20 of all time.

If you have never seen Fight Club, I would recommend watching it 2 or 3 times to fully grasp what is going on. There are so many little details hidden throughout the film that on first watch you could miss it and not understand what happened. I was that way when I first watched this, and I feel Christopher Nolan films are the same (look at Inception).

So, tell me, have you guys seen Fight Club? If so, what do you think? Do you feel like I do and absolutely love the performances from Pitt, Norton and Carter? I think it’s one of Fincher’s best and a must watch if going through his filmography. Always remember everyone, in death, a member of project mayhem has a name. His name is Robert Paulson. You guys met me at a strange time in my life.

Fight Club is directed by David Fincher is rated R and has a 2 hour 31-minute runtime. Fight Club was released on October 15th, 1999 and can be purchased digitally on Itunes, Vudu or other retailers.

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*I do not own these photos used in this article; all rights reserved to the copyright holder*

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