FIGHT CLUB review v2.0 - Heavy Spoilers
Saw FIGHT CLUB a second time tonight, and upon second viewing found myself in a conundrum of wanting to talk more about the film and some of what I’m seeing coming out around the web and the world about it.
I have been hearing the term ‘porn’ and ‘pornographic’ used in relation to this film and this really disturbs me. It’s the same feeling I get when those same terms are leveled upon one of Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert’s works.... BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.
Sure in that film there was nudity and violence, there was... quite a bit of it really, but the difference between that film and anything I would begin to deem as pornographic is the fierce intelligence and wit and humor that is found throughout that film that more than made up for the depravity seen through it.
It seems to me that from time to time we have a film that really lays bare a generational shift, a film that clearly shows us where the fault line between the age masses lie.
It seems to me that FIGHT CLUB is going to be one of those films. Now, I am not going to lay this whole thing upon the statement, ‘Them old farts don’t know what they are talking about,’ because my father (geek) loves the film and I've been calling him an old fart for years.
So... What is it? Well, I believe that a very large portion of this falls upon the outright fear that the film is too cool for it’s own good. They fear that because Brad Pitt is soooooo charismatic as Tyler Durden, that a legion of film-going space monkeys will descend upon the earth to beat and vandalize society. The pure media saturation of every teen crime and the amount of ink and pixels taken up discussing the smallest minutiae of Columbine has created this very real fear of what youth gone unchecked can accomplish. As a result a whole bunch of normally reasonable folks are getting up in arms about this movie. The fear is not about guys getting in brawls. There is more to it than that.
However, for me. I do not see the violence in this film as being ‘cool’ or without ramifications. This isn’t BLOODSPORT or STREETFIGHTER.
(AT THIS POINT, THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM, PLEASE LEAVE THIS PAGE. TO ADDRESS WHAT I NEED TO HERE, I WILL BE DISCUSSING SPOILERS THAT YOU.... YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW GOING INTO THIS FILM. DO NOT READ THE TALK BACKS ON THIS PAGE, UNTIL AFTER YOU’VE SEEN THE MOVIE. I CAN NOT STRONGLY SUGGEST ENOUGH THAT YOU RETURN TO THE FRONT PAGE OF AICN! TRUST ME, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU MAY WISH TO CONTINUE READING... STOP. YOU WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOURSELF.)
THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE!
Alright, I gave you enough warning....
In the films like BLOODSPORT and STREETFIGHTER the violence tends to go unchecked. In World Wrestling Federation you never get the sense of pain, the breaking of bones.... or the true horror that comes with ramming a man’s face into a metal pole.
Peckinpah came under fire for letting the blood fly in THE WILD BUNCH. However, he felt it was irresponsible to make death easy. To make a bullet wound be a clean, blood free hole in the fabric of your shirt. Death is neat.... No it isn’t. It is also not beautiful.
This all comes to full steam when we see Ed Norton fight Blonde Guy. “I felt like destroying something beautiful,” he says while walking from the gasping destroyed man. Norton doesn’t look cool, he is not an image to emulate. And we see the results of his unchecked rage when we turn back to see the horror show before us. The bleeding gums, the broken cheek bones and the missing teeth. The swelling and the pumping of blood from the face. It’s horrific. It’s terrible. It’s repulsive. It’s real. And I’m not saying this in that, “Whoa man, check this shit out,” sort of way.
The last real fist fight I had was back right before Junior High and it was with a friend. We had had a rough day. I felt he had wronged me. Goofing around I put him in a headlock. He got pissed, started hitting me. One thing led to another and I broke his jaw and nose. I escaped with a couple of bruises and a cut on my knuckle. But for about 3 weeks I had to look at my friend and apologize everyday. Everytime Blonde Guy appears after this scene... for me... I never want to hit someone again with the intent to destroy.
When I was thinking of being a makeup artist in High School, I went to the town mortician to see if I could score some mortician’s wax. I had read in ‘THE MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES’ that it was Chaney’s favorite makeup stuff this side of a grease pencil. The mortician took me in and over about a 3 to 4 week period showed me all manners of damaged in death human beings. It is not a pretty thing. One makeup artist I met told me he collects autopsy photos so he can strive for realism.
It’s sick. It’s morbid. But... sometimes it’s necessary to get the details. This is one way that it should be done. Isn’t the only way. I can yell and scream about how horror and action were everybit as horrific and thrilling prior to the advent of color. But ya know. Red is needed for both blood and roses.
Check out Kirk Douglas’ face by the end of CHAMPION or Deniro’s through RAGING BULL. Personally, in my mind’s eye I remember those faces in color for some reason. And it was horrific. Why do I remember it in color? Because the imagination is even stronger than that which is shown.
Alot of the damage in this film is done with sound and editing. I’m not sure how long we linger upon Blondie’s destroyed face, but I believe it’s about a second. Had we seen the reverse throughout that beating. Blondie’s face as the fists came whirring down upon him. Shattering and destroying his good looks for all time. Fincher wisely lingers instead on the rage upon Norton’s face. The same face we saw weep the sorrow of his own inner demons into Bob’s bitch tits.
Another possible reason for the hatred some exhibit for this film lies within the subliminal editing throughout the film. Single frames to three altered frames at a time. A flash that is supposed the be beyond the vision to recognize by the human eye. Some people in the theater didn’t see a single flashing Brad Pitt. Not once. But he is there. Also there are strips or banners that say things that flash.... as well as genitalia. This is so fast that unless your vision has been tuned by years of MTV.... you may not even see it. I have counted at least 8 instances where I saw something flash in the blink of an eye. This may affect people weirdly. I saw some people react with confusion at these moments in the film.
The Dust Brothers’ score is sometimes in that spine-tingly register of discordant tones that I feel are meant to make you and render you disturbed. This is not an ‘easy’ bit of mindless entertainment.
Personally I look at the film and see a man that went to a medical professional to get help and was instead ridiculed. Slowly he is driven a bit insane, then really insane. (By the way, this really happened to Charles Whitman... turned out he had a tumor that had gone undiagnosed) He’s charismatic, he creates a following of people around the basic concept of not being a drone your entire life.... come with him. But... of course, this leads these schmucks into an entirely new level of being a drone... a space monkey.... They’ve traded following one domesticated animal for a rabid animal. Yet still they are followers and not attractive followers. They are not shown as receiving any 'greater glory', they are shown as being pathetic mindless zombies.
Watch the scene with Bob’s dead corpse. First off... the scene becomes very dark because it is important that we only hear and see the reactions of the people in the scene. They stand there and look at one of their fellow space monkeys with his head blown to bits. Norton... the only semi-thinking man in the room is horrified by this. Screaming out his true name. That this was a beautiful human being and that’s gone now. Instead this regiment of space-monkeys can only retreat to discipline.
Hell... this could very well be an indictment of every sort of Green Beret, Special Forces, Marine training.... Anytime you are taught that if you see a man go down, he went down for the cause and will go onto a glorious afterlife.... rah rah rah...
My god, there is even a bit of moral redemption in Ed Norton’s character. Sure it’s dark, but it’s there. The sane side of him is Larry Talbot.... “Please... Lock me up... I turn into a wolf.” He realizes the horror of what he has done and tries to stop it. BUT.... as horror and reality goes, sometimes you can’t stop momentum. This isn't left up to interpretation... it is right there... clear as blue sky upon the screen.
This isn’t a film that has nothing to say. Hell, this isn’t about creating another Timothy McVeigh... this is a film about spotting them... recognizing them.... and acting against it early on... before it gets out of hand.
But come on folks.... Ya have to kind of read between the lines. You can’t just be a passive member of the audience. Use that which lies between your ears, and you’ll hear and see the message here.
It’s not about going out and starting FIGHT CLUB chapters. That is clearly shown to be the actions of an insane man in this film. CLEARLY. You have to trust that others will see that. Sure we have idiots in society that might latch on to Tyler Durden as some sort of prophet.
And we have had a man who tried to kill in the name of Travis Bickle.
We have had a case or two that has been allegedly tied to Mickey and Mallory.
But do we measure the millions that have not pulled the monkey see monkey do bit with film, literature and music? What about all the people in the world that get turned off by the violence in this film. The ones that feel they never want to see a film begin to get near that again. Will those people go out and begin beating people? That night, will they go home and beat their wife or children? Or will they be a bit disgusted?
But how many men have killed for the name and glory of Jesus Christ? Mohammed? The United States Of America?
From this film, violence is shown as being an insane act of destruction... not beauty. It shows how popular messages can be used to direct that which we fear the most. If you leave this movie afraid that this could happen here.... GOOD.... YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID. That is the whole point. To scare you. To make you not want to be a space monkey.... another mindless thoughtless follower.... another brick in the wall.... a goosestepper.... a fool.
I saw this in a theater filled with the target audience twice now. Both times the audience reacted in horror at key scenes, squirmed in key scenes and laughed at key scenes. They reacted throughout the film. Afterwards in front of the theater they stood in circles of 8 and 9 talking about the film. I listened in. No plans were being hatched. No, ‘God wouldn’t be cool to start our own Fight Club’ statements. Instead they talked about how much that looked like it hurt. How gross it was to make soap from humans. How if anyone turned the car slicers backwards at a parking lot that they should be shot.
The only prank that I heard being approved of was taking an industrial strength electro-magnet into a Blockbuster Video and destroying their tapes... and the splicing of genitalia into family films.... but none of them know where to get 35 mm porn scenes.
Mostly though they were discussing the movie, how they hated Meatloaf dying, and how gross Blondie looked. How they wanted the Dust Brothers soundtrack and that they wanted to see it again because... well because of the twist at the end. They think it’ll be a different experience the second time.
So... Have faith in your common man and woman. Your neighbor is probably not a serial killer. Your plane will most likely not crash. Your airbag will deploy. As for the destruction of the debt record... hell, that idea was born in the sixties and seventies from groups like SDS and the Black Panthers. That was well beyond my generation.
Don’t be so scared that it blinds you from great cinema. Once you begin worrying about what the common person will do with FIGHT CLUB... well ya might as well start pulling books off shelves, reinstate the Hayes Code and never leave your house. This is just an ideal case of a protagonist actually being a fully developed three dimensional villain without his own knowledge.
This is not pornography. This should not be banned. This is art.
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Oct. 15, 1999, 5:45 p.m. CST
You seem to be under the mistaken impression that this site's only point for existance is unbiased views on film, or rather Harry's. Since when is an opinion of a film rendered useless simply because theres a leaning toward judgement? That notion is ridiculous. If this site was only about scoops, then I for one wouldnt enjoy it as much as I do now. Gossip is found anywhere, and if thats all I wanted I'd start hanging out at the Standard and Skybar, and start taping Access Hollywood religiously. By your comments about rushes and your 'project' its obvious you fancy yourself a Hollywood Player- and if thats the case you could start your own website.You know as well as I do there are plenty of rumors floating about the studio. I'll let you in on a little secret - one that most people who come to AICN are already aware of. The point of this site is, yes, in part scoops, but most importantly it's about being a site thats all about filmmaking that youre not going to find anywhere else. Because the writers here are passionate about this craft. Guess what? Biased reviews go hand in hand with that concept. But it does not make this site anything less than amazing. In fact theyve provided a forum for everyone else in this country who feels this passion about filmmaking but doesnt have the oppurtunity to live in L.A. and work in this industry like you and I do. Also - do you honestly believe that FIGHT CLUB will *not* fly or flop on its own?! I love Harry and all, but sorry, one person's influence will NOT make or break a film. And if Harry's opinion in a review can brain wash readers to that extreme, then weren't said readers pretty weak to begin with? one last thing - I must disagree with your statement: All film is not wonderful. Did you ever see the Peacemaker?
Oct. 26, 1999, 1:57 p.m. CST
by Sith Lord Byron
I'm sure there are those of you out there (especially Nordling) who are, how shall we say, extremely dissatisfied with Ms. Lisa Schwarzbaum's oxygen-depleted review of FIGHT CLUB. To all of you I say, "FUCK LISA SCHWARZBAUM!" I personally am extremely disappointed that the "powers at be" over at ENTERTAINMENT MEEKLY chose to run a review of this very male movie by a female and worse, a female who gave NOTTING HILL an A-. FIGHT CLUB is not a movie for women. I do not mean this in a misogynist way in the least. I was raised in a house with four other women and I consider myself to be if not sensititve, then at least aware of the feminine point of view when it comes to matters such as this. However, just as STEEL MAGNOLIAS was obviously not a movie made for or about men, FIGHT CLUB is not a movie made for or about women. Is it wrong for Hollywood to make films that cater to those in society who are possessed of a penis? Anyone who tells you so is seeking to suppress your (and I'm speaking to the men here) civil liberties as a male human being. Just as it would be rude and irresponsible for me to make negative comments about RUNAWAY BRIDE based on the fact that it was not a movie tailored specifically for me, it is rude and irresponsible for individuals such as Ms. Schwarzbaum to make negative comments about a movie that was most definitely NOT made for her. All you guys out there, you wonder why the only testosterone fueled entertainment we seem to get is half-baked shit from Jerry Bruckheimer? It's because whenever important and intelligent testosterone-fueled entertainment such as FIGHT CLUB come out, we fail to get behind it and defend it! Let's start sticking up for ourselves, because the way I see it, the society that has been built around us has failed and abandoned us. We are animals, created by GOD, to do two things: fuck and kill. Now I'm not saying we should revert back to our most primitive instincts, but we should make ourselves aware of the fact that we now live in a feminine society where our very evolutionary nature is suppressed and supplanted by the feminine urge to shop. WE ARE NOT MEANT TO SHOP. We are not supposed to cry over hallmark cards. We are not supposed to pay exhorbitant sums of money for Beanie Babies. We are not supposed to listen to Britney Spears no matter how much silicone she ingests, we are not supposed to tolerate Rosie O'fucking'Donnell giving away endings on morning fucking television, and we are NOT supposed to roll over when our very gender is being emasculated by the society in which we are forced to apologize for being what we are. THIS IS WHAT FIGHT CLUB IS ABOUT. It's not about blowing up buildings, it's not about beating up your friends, it's not about pissing in the cream of mushroom soup they serve in the local nursing home for all the men who didn't stick up for themselves when they had a chance. IT'S ABOUT REALIZING THAT SOCIETY DOESN'T LIKE YOU. IT DOESN'T WANT YOU. AND THIS IS NOT THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN. So next time your girlfriend rolls her eyes when she comes home to you watching DIE HARD or listening to LED ZEPPELIN or downing a pint of GUINNESS before the game, tell her you don't have to put up with anymore of her shit, because guess what? YOU DON'T.
Oct. 26, 1999, 8:15 p.m. CST
by solar plexus
ok... a friend turned me on to this place a few years ago ... with some urban web legend type story and this is the first time I have actually visited and I'm really impressed at all the gab that goes on ... and I came here because ... !!! .... I could'nt find a rave review of Fight Club with the usual suspects ... I searched around a bit ... and everywhere I turned (in the mass-media) there was a luke-warm to just-plain-angry review of the film and I had just seen it and was curious ... I also read, I think before I saw the film, about the Hollywood Reporter controversy where the film critic sez that the film represents the mindless violence that will surely bring Hollywood crashing down ... and the studio threatens to pull all of it's advertising with the mag ... a funny little controversy considering the film ... and actually let's not even talk about the film (if your there, your there) but about the reaction to the film... Can one easily divide it up genderwise? I don't think so ... personally, my lady loved the film and had a strange, almost respectful look about her afterwards ... and ... I think that anybody that is not in extreme posture-mode would agree that the film was well-crafted ... but this does not seem to be the case ... even amongst people that I know fairly well and would predict that they enjoy the film ... ??? ... I have read many of the posts in the thread and think it's great that so many people have given their opinion, good or bad, about the film ... and certain people are right in saying that such a film only comes along every once in a while ... hence the big controversy ... but I am a little disturbed at my new idea of film critics in general and also at the general idea of the Liberal mindset ... perhaps it is a personal renaissance (a hint of "great" art?) ... or perhaps a sign of social struggle? ... but it comes down to this ... the Fight Club film was exactly the "sledge-hammer", as one poster put it, that makes people stop and think ... oh no! not that!.... and to read a bunch of film critics who (obviously deeply out-of-touch with thier audience) write about this film in a mannor that gets to show off their collection of 50 cent words ... um well ... I guess it's one of those mass-media type things!?! All I can say is that if you are reading this now ... you have made half the journey of disconnecting yourself from a world that seeks to tell you how you should look at things, films, etc... and never, ever, believe the hype ... " trust your feelings, Luke! " ... and make the hype instead ... as the makers of this page know (and include sound once in a while cause I'm a struggling Sound Designer).
Oct. 26, 1999, 10:28 p.m. CST
by quip crack
For those that can't find anything redeeming in this film, the need to go to there cave and find there power animal. AND BY GAWD \SLIDE!\
Nov. 9, 1999, 7:21 a.m. CST
Fincher has become the king of the new directors, showing bits of Scorsese, Woody Allen,Coppola, but never failing to be himself throughout. I have high hopes for the future of Cinema after seeing this film. Please stop talking about what it does and doesn
Nov. 22, 1999, 7:18 p.m. CST
I say that the first rule of movie-making is to not insult your audience. If you insult the audience, you wind up with an angry move-goer who feels his time has been wasted. Or worse yet, maybe he leaves the theater a zealot intent on pouring verbal bile and bad vibes across the facade of your picture's supposedly cerebral word-of-mouth. I can't say that Fight Club has generated such acrimonious inhibitions in me, but I can bet that most people won't even bother to think what was wrong with this flick. I just saw Fight Club. And I was entertained. I was expecting a bad/illogical twist that was mentioned in several reviews I'd read. That's what I got. I also got a brain cramp from trying to figure out exactly what the movie is trying to say. About violence, about society, about emotional dependency, about multiple-personality disorder. I'm in disorder? YOU'RE IN DISORDER! THE WHOLE FUCKING MOVIE'S IN DISORDER!!! First of all, I've already seen Edward Norton in a dual-personality role. The movie was ----I forget the title--I think it was one of those 2-word, Taut Courtroom Drama titles, and I didn't particularly like that one, either, mostly because Richard Gere was in it. Second of all, the "twist" in Fight Club comes out of the clear blue sky, with none of the visual, thematic, and cinematic clues employed by movies like Usual Suspects or The Sixth Sense. Some sort of preparation, other than neglecting to use the narrator's name prior to the revelation, and placing the residence on Paper Street (a reference, I can assume, to Jackie Paper, the little boy who invents Puff the Magic Dragon to embody his fantasies), needs to have foreshadowed Norton's character's epiphany. As it stands, it is meaningless. A plot twist for the sake of twisting plot. Do we understand Norton anymore now that he is revealed to be Pitt? We already know from the very beginning that Norton is a deeply disturbed wacko, leeching off of others' need to connect in moments of personal tragedy. We know from the very beginning that Pitt is a sociopath at best and a psychopathic maniac at worst. Does it really matter that Norton's feebly demented character is the same as Pitt's megolomaniac? Who cares? Or better yet--WHY? Why does anything in this film happen? Does it advocate anything? Anarchy? Or is it just pointing out society's ills in flashy, homo-erotic imagery and testosterone-fueled mayem? Is this to ignite the audience, repel the audience, engage the audience in further thought? If the latter stands as the true goal (and I certainly hope it's at least trying for this), all I can say is that the only thinking I'm engaged in, is how so many seemingly crossed purposes and condescending directorial manipulations amount to anything worthy of any thought at all. The movie looks great. It had some great touches I loved. Like the scene spoken directly to the audience where they explain the intracacies of changing projector reels and inserting subliminal dick frames into a feature film. I watched for that cursed little circle flicker in the upper right corner of the frame for the rest of film, and probably, sadly, will continue to do so for the rest of my movie-going life. The sight of liposuction refuse dripping down a barbed fence held a certain intrigue. I can recall enjoying certain conversations and several surrealistic sights. It was fun to watch. Just not sure if it adds up to anything worth thinking about. And I think that that violates the second rule of a decent movie. You know. Same as the first.
Nov. 24, 1999, 1:06 p.m. CST
You obviously didn't make out the flashes of Brad Pitt in the beginning before his appearance. While Edward Norton is busy fighting with the chick over which group meetings they can go to, there is a flash of Pitt for a spit second in the audiences field of vision. Norton doesn't see Pitt, but we do. Also, earlier in the film, there is another flash of Pitt as Norton is talking to his boss. This is suppose to represent (to an observant moviegoer) that Norton is currently developing his alternate personality. It's just like the Sixth Sense in the way that in makes you go back and look at everything again...and reanalyze it. If you had paid attention in the beginning, you wouldn't have posted such an ignorant response that says that there were no clues pertaining to Norton being Pitt. (Or vise versa)
Jan. 14, 2000, 11:47 p.m. CST
The movie is about asking how long mankind can continue to deny his nature. Why make it complicated? Don't you have the feeling that you should be something you're not? What if that someone knew better than you did? What if he took over? We are animals. Clever and artistic, but animals nonetheless. However feminine, meek, or shallow you are, you are a killer. Society and civilization is the only thing allowing you to live. Embrace yourself (not that way...lol).
Jan. 18, 2000, 11:57 a.m. CST
From the first moment that the narrator appears on screen, I was hooked on this film. I am a female and I abhor violence, but I haven't seen a more thought provoking and unique film in a long time. There are any number of films where gunplay claims the lives of any number of people, (The Replacement Killers has about 30 people getting killed in the first 10 minutes.) but show men using their fists and we suddenly become so civilized. Using fisticuffs, the winner and the loser both feel pain. They are trying to feel anything. This film was perfectly faithful to Chuck Palahniuk's book (not an easy task) and none of the humor was lost. This film was about so many things. It was about blind devotion to a cause. It was about alienation. It was about ownership and success. And it was a love story. The narrator is attempting to win the affections of the only female. A female that attends testicular cancer survivor meetings. I don't have to state what physical attribute she must have to do that. Marla could have become one dimensional and insignifigant, but Helena Bohnam Carter is so extraordinary that she brings an intensity to a small but pivotal role. And Ed Norton is phenomenal. He possessed the perfect combination of enuie and barbarity. Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden slowly becomes a caricature. I found myself parting ways with him about the same time that Norton's character does. I was supposed to. This was an amazing film, worthy of repeated viewing and much discussion.
Feb. 21, 2000, 7:21 p.m. CST
I think he has some personal issue s to work on. But he's certainly doing some interesting film-therapy. His four films have been dark. A couple are barely watchable. But I think Fight Club has a bad rap. It's entertaining if not enlightening. I think Fincher has some growing to do, but he's young. Also, I read a bizarre comment made by Paul Anderdson (as in PT Anderson). He attacked Fincher and thought he should get testicular cancer (Rolling Stone Interview last month). I like Paul's work and I think he also has some growing to do. There's no reason to think, let alone say such a thing about another director. I don't think Fincher is attempting Nazi propoganda with his art. Certainly, Vertmuller should have been hung for Olympia if we are to take the work so damn seriously. And why did he ruin his own good movie with songs and frogs? I think the Academy is reaching in the screenplay category this year.
Feb. 24, 2000, 12:22 a.m. CST
Are people on this thread ignoring the notion that 'Fight Club' is a satire of itself as much or more than it is a biting social commentary? The movie doesn't take itself seriously, and it doesn't pretend that it has any gritty realism-Fincher's stories are fantasies, movies that know they're movies and bend the rules accordingly. Look at 'Seven' or 'The Game'; if we read to much into them, then the joke is on us. 'Fight Club' shows us characters that ARE the very pop images they fight against, and it uses a high-voltage style that is practically a commercial for everything that the film industry sells. There's the conundrum: there's a lot in 'Fight Club' that has more than a touch of truth, and at times it can provoke some genuinely critical thought. It's smart and deceptive, and it never leaves you sure where the analysis ends and the fun begins. It's great. But once you buy into it and bow down to worship the movie, you might as well just shave your head and call yourself space monkey. Or better yet, go buy another ticket for it and try not to think of yourself as a statistic on some production companies net profit sheets.
Feb. 29, 2000, 7:53 a.m. CST
by The Crazy FoX
The number of times when a director has come along and surpassed his own masterpiece can be counted on the fingers of the hands of a two-time Iranian shoplifter. Put it simply, it just doesn't happen. Take Tarrantino for instance. Now many would say (Myself included) that Pulp Fiction is superior to Reservoir Dogs. But the howls of purists will always drown out the cries in the dark. I have friends who prefer Jacky Brown, but they don't say it often at parties. HOWEVER, Fight Club is different. Whilst Se7ens raw and pitch-black imagery plays on the mind like a car crash, Fight Club beats you to a pulp and actually makes you smile while it does so. While I still personally believe that Se7en is the nirvana of cerial killer films, it does not change the fact that Fight Club is arguably better in terms of sheer film-making bliss. It is a break-neck rollercoaster ride of fucked-up inner thaughts, and horrific sweat-drenched anarchy. Nortons narration is so hypnotic, you scarcely notice two hours slide past. For those who read the book, as far as I can tell, this is the first film to completely convey the twisting imagery of the source-novel. Even L.A. Confidential could not totally stay true to it's originator, opting instead for an audiance-friendly summery of the books events. Every now and again, a film comes along that makes you think, "What the hell am I doing with my life?" This year, only the MatriX, and American Beauty have had similar effect on me. Fight Club is a jet-black look inside an insane mind, that challenges the audiance to watch what would happen if men finally decided to put civilisation aside. "Climb the creeping vines, clinging to the Trump towers..." the book intones, chillingly glimpsing a world ravaged by anarchy, and gripped by mans pursuit of inner-freedom. The only flaw that I can imagine is that I can never go back, and wonder who Tyler Durden really is.
March 20, 2000, 8:11 p.m. CST
I would have to say that I thought Fight Club was a excellent, challenging movie, in no way did it promote violent activity. Except where editted to remove the "offensive" consequences which in place make the violence less attractive. (eg. the Australian version) Perhaps the controversy is in part with the film advocating that less is possible and its rejection of the trappings of executive life. Rather than a few weak-minded copycats battering each other in their garage, people rejecting the idea that they can't live without the newset TV or Stereo or "versitile lifestyle option" is more likely to worry the corporate entities which control the media.
May 13, 2000, 8:27 a.m. CST
Well, this is the second Edward Norton movie I saw with disturbing scene(s). There was poetic sybolism, although unintentional perhaps, when Norton's character getting his head slammed on the ground to the one of two disturbing scenes in "American History X" or the sidewalk theme. In each, you can feel and hear the bone crunch. Was that when he fought Bob (Meatloaf) or when he kicked the living crap out of Blonde guy? Whatever. Norton continues to push the envelope character-wise and as violent as the movie is, Norton's character, Larry, has some redeming qualities, naming, being purely horrified by the goings-on of the Fight Club. I thought the movie was OK at first, but a bit long. I still think it's a tad long, but I can't stop thinking about the movie. I had a "Fight Club" of sorts when I was about 14 or so, but we did it just to box, no hitting on the face. We had about six guys. I faced a much bigger guy, but my friend told me to use whatever quickness I had to punch and jab. I won the fight. The blood was not there, but for six guys the cheering was a piece of our "Fight Club". I would think most men have a period of "fighting" amongst themselves. One other view before I go. Let me see if anyone else here feels the same: I think Brad Pitt is a bad actor. Bad, but serviceable in some roles. In a movie like this, he's fine, in that, he's a very physical actor. But through some of his films I've seen: "Interview with a Vampire," "Meet Joe Black," and "Fight Club," there is sort of a detachment as an actor. There is a sameness to each one of his characters, oh yeah, throw in "Thelma and Louise." He comes off as a seemly cunning character on the surface, but a pure dope inside. A Patrick Swayze, Sly Stalone kind of "duh" look. Guess you could say the same thing about Norton, but there is usually a conscience to his characters: "X", "Presumed Innocent" (was that the one with Richard Gere?) and now "Fight Club." I can relate to his characters and where the deadness of his eyes speak volumes to me, Brad Pitt smurkly smile is just that to me. I just don't think Pitt can carry a movie alone. "Back to Tibet" was a bomb. I can't wait for the next Norton movie, save the comedy in the cloth.
Sept. 1, 2000, 7:07 p.m. CST
Just read Harry's review and all the comments on Fight Club. Nice to find people who appreciated the film as much as I did. The Fight Club DVD was my first DVD purchased for the new player. I didn't even have to think twice that this film is one I wanted to be able to see over and over. I think this film is one of the most important and timely films for our generation. No B.S. If you're a guy and you didn't find yourself provoked intellectually by all that Fight Club had to say, if you dismissed it as socially irresponsible or pointless, I can guarantee you that you have no BALLS or they have shrunk to a point of unrecognizability. For that unfortunate lot, I pray you come to your senses. I doubt it will be today, as you climb in your silver BMW convertible, sip your half caf latte while you dial your stainless steel Nokia, head to your job that you can't remember the last time meant something to you or anybody else, and then finish the day by stopping off for yet another innane conversation with a faux friend about where it was you had a far superior lemon drop martini. Even if your not that guy, I know deep down you've rolled up beside him on Sunset and wondered if your life would be better if you were him.
Oct. 28, 2000, 5:51 a.m. CST
[rant] Re: darthvegas' comment on Fight Club. I realise this is a bit late, but nevertheless had to get my personal two cents in somewhere. I liked Fight Club. Be it a representation of masculinity in modern culture or be it not, I enjoyed it. David Fincher is one of my favourite directors. I also love a lot of so-called 'masculine' films that deal with 'masculine' things - Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, Seven, for three examples. Now I am a woman. I happen to hate formulaic, Hollywood bilge that *is mostly* tailored at women - for example, You've Got Mail (Harry... you "adore" that? The fuck?), Hanging Up, Armageddon (Ben Affleck with his shirt off and acting macho) and Titanic. I'm somewhat proud to say I've never seen that and I don't ever want to. Darthvegas, as I understand it - is tarnishing all women with the same brush. I don't cry at Hallmark cards! For fuck's sake, if you're going to make a point about feminism and about how it's 'ruined' today's society, by all means do so, but *don't* cover it up by saying you're not misogynistic when it's plain to me (I'm a feminist - so sue me!) that you most definitely are. By saying that *all* women love shopping and that it's a woman's world is just wrong, I'm sorry. I believe in equality, and this trend of switching behaviour patterns between men and women isn't good for men, women, society, anything. I would rather watch Shallow Grave or Trainspotting or Seven or Fight Club, for that matter, than *any* (and I mean any) Nora Ephron romantic comedy. I think you'll find they're a lot more entertaining. [/rant]
Dec. 21, 2000, 5:46 p.m. CST
by Cunning Linguist
Hmmm, saw the movie recently and I don't understand how the fight club gets off the ground. How is it that one guy throwing himself around the parking lot can inspire an onlooker to say "Can I be next?" I've only seen it once, and I enjoyed the hell out of the movie up to the revelation (they're the same dude). I just don't get how someone can want to be the next combatant in a one man show. Everthing else is crystal, but I'm not convinced the 'twist' works. Have I forgotten something integral, overlooked something? Please help. Anyone?
Dec. 31, 2000, 10:58 a.m. CST
I just saw it, last night, in a darkened hotel room on a friend's laptop. At one juncture in the movie, when the waiters are going down the hallway, I turned to the guy who was showing it to me and said, "Men are sheep." He said after the movie was over that he was proud of me for having gotten one of the basic tenets of the movie right away. I was called away from watching the commentary track with the actors, but I'm definitely going to go through and watch this movie over and over again. There are so many layers to it, so many new angles to catch. I feel more sympathetic to Bonham Carter's character now, and Norton's become one of my favorite actors now. Wonderful movie... it should have won an Academy Award for writing.
Aug. 3, 2001, 10:19 p.m. CST
I just got through viewing Fight Club for probably my fifth time, and would like to know what others felt about the message in the end. I feel that Fight Club presents a fascinating and intriguing view of the status of consumerism in American society. This is wonderfully portrayed in the first third of the film, asking what does it all mean and who are we without it. However, the remainder of the film tells us that the resolution to this dilemma will be found through random acts of terrorism, ranging from urinating in food to blowing up buildings. Do you as a viewer feel this is really the solution to the problem? I have heard this film refered to as "the film of our generation". Does anyone else find that frightening? Do you want our geration to retaliate against society through such acts of pointless chaos? The film brings up an interesting issue in America, yet tells us our only true freedom from it can be achieved through anarchy. How do you all feel about this conclusion?
Nov. 22, 2001, 2:51 a.m. CST
To Zombie71 and all others who question Fight Club's meaning, I am currently involved in writing a 15-20 page term paper on Fight Club. So, I have thought a lot about what I think the movie means. Fincher has called it a comedy, and it does have comedic elements, but I think it goes far beyond this. Through its various scenes of violence and admiring shots of a god-like Tyler Durden, it seems to show us that self-destruction is the answer, but all of Jack's actions near the end of the film show us so clearly that it is not. Edward Norton's character is the guy we identify with. He is the member of Generation X that is unhappy with his life (like the target audience for this movie). He is the guy who's head we are in and who we gather all of our information from. In short, we know what he knows. When he turns against Tyler, so do we as an audience. We all see clearly, as we sort of saw earlier in the film, that Tyler's plan to cure American consumerism is unacceptable. Instead, I think the intended message of the film is to think for yourself, to criticize all of the persuasive messages you see around you. If you blindly accept the messages of our consumer society that you can cure your ills by buying, then you might just end up like Edward Norton's character, an depressed insomniac with no friends and no real life. But if you accept the messages of someone like Tyler, you might end up as a mindless space monkey who is capable of near anything. Neither of these choices is very enticing and that is why no one who views the movie thinks either is the clear way to go. So many critics have stated that the moive has no clear message, or one that they can't figure out. My question is do they need that message thrown at them throughout the film? Or can they accept that the answer might not be presented, not because of bad film making or something being left out, but because each audience member is supposed to determine the answer for themselves? Fight Club lets you employ your own brain on the subject. It tells you to decide your own path. It presents pretty accurate criticisms of American society, like the rampant cynicism that exists from constantly not receiving what is promised by advertisements, but it also shows the problems with theories like nihilism. We can't believe the advertisers and we can't believe in people like Tyler, so we are left to do a very American thing and believe in ourselves. If Fight Club winds up being labled as the movie of our generation, although I doubt it will, I for one will be happy. It is a movie that both entertained me and made me think about some very complicated issues that directly affect my life. On top of that, it ends with supporting the self-empowering idea of self introspection and determinism. We are not the slacker generation of other Gex-X movies like Reality Bites. And while we are not the mindless space monkeys of Project Mayhem, many of us are unhappy with the unfulfilling society around us. For a film that could be connected with our generation, at least it represents our concerns and frustrations pretty accurately. Of course, if the film is accepted in the future in the same way that many critics took it at its release, basically as presenting the idea that violence and self-destruction are the answer to society's ills, then they'll probably all see us as a bunch of mindless thugs. If this happens, I won't be sad or frustrated at all. I will just be happy that I was one of the few who saw the real message behind Fight Club and can honestly say that I am a better person for having seen it.
July 16, 2002, 9:31 a.m. CST
What happens after Edward Norton shoots himself. I know u Fight Club devotees U know the answer ? Tell me if u can Just Do It ? C mon answer this?
April 5, 2003, 1:13 a.m. CST
FIGHT CLUB still suffers from an atrocious third act that cannot be ignored. Who's driving the car? The idea this movie is in the Top 25 over at Imdb.com is a joke and a half.
Aug. 20, 2010, 5:02 p.m. CST
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