Fight Club (1999)

4,5/5

USA; David Fincher

 

Mature Audience - Strong Brutal Violence; Language; Sexual Content

 

 

​A nameless, nerdy, insomniac white-collar (Edward Norton), disgusted with his ghastly and repetitive life, will meet two flamboyant, devil-may-care people who will change his life: a colorful leather-jacketed soap maker, Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), and a street-wise sex bomb, Marla Singer (Helena Bonham-Carter). They form an underground fight club to channel male aggressiveness into a brutal new form of therapy, but soon things spiral out of control as our hero realizes the revolution Tyler is concoting might be of an altogather more radical, nihilistic nature.

 

Fincher’s ultra-cool wry black comedy is a wild ride for anyone who can handle its shocking violence, ambiguous morality and twisted, challenging storytelling. Blending nihilistic Nietzschean philosophy, spiteful satire and vitriolic, world-weary humor, the whole thing wrapped in gory, deliberately trashy and intoxicating paraphernalia, Fight Club explores the world we live in with caustic lucidity and intelligence. Fincher plunges us into the twisted, labyrinthine world of the irrational with shocking vividness and immediacy. It’s the dissonant, garish symphony of modern man's anger, of the “fin de siècle” repressed neo-malaise. As the film peels off its material crust, and implicitly its somewhat trite envelope of ersatz-profound reflections on consumerism and casual comfort,  and veers towards something more sinister, nebulous and frightening, Fight Club skyrockets and becomes something very special indeed...

 

The movie also boasts three of the most gifted actors of their generation, cast close to perfection. Edward Norton, as a schizophrenic time bomb, delivers a splendid, hectic performance. Pitt, as a charismatic leader, is a magnetic anti-presence, the dangerously perfect projection of our most twisted dreams and ideals, while Helena Bonham Carter infuses real depth to her amoral, flirtatious character. Her scenes with Norton, by turns vulnerable, wry and absurd, are humming with an unexpected human vibration, which, amid all this grunginess, violence and machismo, is Fight Club's seething, tender heart.


The violent, almost psychedelic palette, of deep darks, garish, radioactive oranges and glittering golds, and the hyper-kinetic, rollercoaster direction, achieves a unique, mesmerizing visual mood. Fincher's camera films the chaos, the rage, the blood with the impersonal beauty of a sports car advertisement, a deliberate irony that heightens the ensemble's wry, self-deprecating, postmodern undertow.

 

Of a ferocious intelligence, Fight Club is a lurid, uncompromising and chaotic exploration of the human psyche, delivered with the astringent kiss of a chemical burn. A truly compelling beast.

 

 

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