It is not the suspension of belief that this film requires from the viewer (as most films ask that of you) nor is it the morals-based warning it issues about our society and its downfall, rather it is the fact that it kinda just leaves you with a sense of discomfort and no hints of answers. What the…..??? Is all I was left with after watching the film.
The narrator (Edward Norton – American History X, The Incredible Hulk) brings us through a period of his normally mundane life where everything explodes…sometimes literally. He had spent a large portion of his adult life attending different self-help or 12-Step groups without really suffering from the problems they are associated with. Just lacking company, suffering from insomnia and enjoying group settings he wanders from group to group meeting people.
At one of his groups a woman named Marla (Helena Bonham Carter – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Terminator Salvation) catches his attention because she is also faking her way through the group. After his getting to know Marla his insomnia rages out of control again. Shortly thereafter he meets Tyler (Brad Pitt – Burn After Reading, Legends of the Fall), a guy he admires for his sense of entitlement and no-nonsense approach to life.
Tyler and the narrator become friends with Tyler introducing him to a way of getting rid of his tension – fighting. They fight each other and any other member of their newly formed underground and secretive Fight Club. Marla and Tyler become lovers, but they are not really good for one another. The Club also begins to catch on across the nation and becomes a pseudo-fascist organization. Things are suddenly out of control in the narrator's life.
Not for the faint of heart as the violence in the film is quite jarring. But the moments of bloody violence are tempered by the frequent moments of humour in the film. For those who argue that it glorifies violence you are missing the point. The film is trying to show us how violence has become almost totally gratuitous and an accepted part of our society. It is not condoning it, rather it is simply holding up a mirror to society and showing violence to be an integral part of it.
It is an odd film that is hard to sum up as it really evokes visceral rather than intellectual responses from the viewer. Not that it is a stupid film – not at all.
Though I did not relate to the film there are still many positives to it. Director David Fincher (Seven, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) shot the film in a very interesting way that lends to the overall subversive feel to it. Pitt and Norton are electric onscreen and form a great duo.
The whole time you are watching "Fight Club" you will feel uneasy. There is something extremely left of centre and off about it. It points out how empty our existence is in the modern world. That there is no meaning to life anymore, how we are shallow and just mindless consumers. The lead protagonist is a personification of most of us – just sleepwalking his way through life trying to fill the hours of emptiness with something – anything. The humour in it is very black and meant to provoke discussion. A film that requires multiple viewings.
I was right there with Fincher and the cast until the very last scenes (which I won't ruin for anyone who hasn't seen the film) and then I was furious. I felt like I had been led down the garden path only to find a huge pile of doggie doo at the end. It offers nothing to the viewer and doesn't even warrant discussion. Two minutes or one scene ruined the whole film for me!
-Insomniac Mode: I Am Jack
-A Hit in the Ear
-Flogging Fight Club
-Behind the Scenes
-Deleted and Alternate Scenes