by Brek the David
Fight Club (1999) – Director: David Fincher Adapted Screenplay: Jim Uhls Starring: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, OSCAR COUNT (0)
David Fincher mixes visceral style with disrupted substance in 1999’s Fight Club. A dystopic look at consumerism, commercialism, capitalism, and how it’s fucked a generation raised without fathers, Fight Club takes us on a journey of a world on the brink, balancing of the precipice of the Abyss. While the world at large drones on, one man acts the part of Howard Beale in Network. He’s mad as hell and he’s not going to take this anymore. This man, however, does more than stick his out the window and yell.
Part of what makes Fight Club so compelling is the dichotomy of the main characters, The Narrator and Tyler Durden. They start off as the protagonists against the very world in which they live. The Narrator (Ed Norton) had been a drone just like everyone else until he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). They become friends, despite being very different men, and what follows is a spree of mayhem and chaos stemming from their foundation of an underground men’s only fight club whose ultimate goal is to devolve the world back to its primal state so mankind can have a second chance.
It’s interesting to note that this is really what The Narrator wants for himself more than actually changing the world. As it turns out Tyler is just a part of The Narrator’s psyche, the primal, instinctual, impulsive being he so desires to be. Bringing the world to its knees is exactly what The Narrator also wants to do to himself. He needs a new start so badly; he literally becomes a different person at times (and embodies both personas simultaneously as well). Of course this rebirth of his primal self leads to being consumed by it and he loses his compassion and altruistic side. Coming to the realization of what is going on inside his head, Tyler now becomes the antagonist as The Narrator knows now he must stop Tyler/himself for good.
Few times in their careers would Norton and Pitt be as great as they are in Fight Club. Now this isn’t to say that these performances are some of the best of all time, but together they create a convincing and sometimes disturbing look into a mind that has broken under the pressures it perceives to weigh upon it. Fincher keeps the film tight yet frenetic, bringing to vibrant life some of the most iconic scenes of the last twenty years or so. Fight Club is the paramount film for the lost Generation X of over a decade ago, a swan song for these misguided slackers that have now most likely been fully assimilated into the very machine they tried to deny.