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You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.

First rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club. Second rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club.


fight8t.jpg (5873 bytes) Tyler Durden - Brad Pitt

fight9t.jpg (5678 bytes) Narrator, Jack - Edward Norton

fight4t.jpg (4792 bytes) Marla Singer - Helena Bonham-Carter

Robert Paulson - Meat Loaf

Director: David Fincher

"You are not your job. You are not how much you have in the bank. You are not the contents of your wallet. You are not your khakis"

The great George Carlin once did a routine about stuff. He said that houses, and homes, were just a place to store our stuff, and went on about packing for vacations, taking more of our stuff, etc. Carlin's routine, while humorous, did have a deeper meaning I believe.   Are we definied, driven and shaped by what we have?  Whether or not director David Fincher has seen the routine, or even knows of it, it seems to be one of the central themes in his dark, unique, disturbing, but slightly overdone Fight Club.

"The things you own, end up owning you. It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything"

The movie makes statements about being victims to societal expectations, and conforming, instead of living  being who we are and doing what we want to do. There are several insightful points made regarding life, and those who walk through it, zombified, unhappy, and ever closer to the day  they die. I know, rather morose, and foreboding, but that is an underlying mood here in this movie, and when it sticks to that, is when it succeeds. Those of you who have seen the previews, are probably a bit confused, thinking "I thought this was a movie about disgruntled yuppies who beat each other up," an darker toned Ultimate Fighting Championship fought by cubicle dwellers. Well, indeed, that is one of the themes in the movie, a central point around which the rest of the madness orbits.  It's not the only thing going on here, far from it actually.   The movie’s weakest points come, when the fighting becomes the focal point.  The pace  is actually similar to a prize fight, it starts fast, grabs your attention, lags in the middle, and then tries to finish with the flurry and energy that it began with.   For the most part, Fight Club wins the battle, but not necessarily the war.

fight7t.jpg (5491 bytes) Similar, in theme, and in tone, to American Beauty, Fight Club introduces us to Jack an insomniac, corporate slave who develops an interesting addiction, which I'm not going to spoil for you.. Jack is not happy with his life, where he is, and where its going.  Jack is in need of a wakeup call, and gets it courtesy of tough-talking, chain-smoking Marla Singer and  mantra-spewing-tough-guy-soap-salesman  Tyler Durden.  Durden is a reckless, carefree soul who meets Jack on a plane ride. The opening scenes, including one, with Singer and Jack in a laundromat, Durden and Jack on a plane, are sharp, emotional,   powerful and real. The cinematography here, is masterful as well. We are treated to a synapse in Norton’s brain in the opening, and several unique perspectives on things, including a breaking down of the wall between the audience and the screen. Suffice to say, after this movie, you’ll pay closer attention to every part of the screen, for every moment.

First rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club. Second rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club.

The performances are all uniquely, and individually entertaining.  I am running out of adjectives to describe how much I like Edward Norton as an actor. His performance here is emotional and versatile, showing yet another level in his growing repertoire. A sports radio talk show host nicknames Ken Griffey Jr, Nintendo, because baseball comes so easily, it is like a game to him. The same could be said for Norton, and his acting ability. He has the quality of making you forget that you are watching an actor playing a role, because it looks so natural and so easy. I still believe that he will have gold in his future, although this movie is probably too dark, and disturbing for Academy standards. Teaming him here with Pitt, carefree, loose and oozing confidence, makes for the dream pairing, that the future of Hollywood should be built upon. Also, for those who still think Pitt is a pretty boy, this movie should pretty much shatter that image. Add in Carter, never without a cigarette and acerbic wisecrack and Meat Loaf who is the movies most pleasant surprise in a brutally honest role (I didn’t even recognize him until about halfway through), mix in a tongue-in-cheek script, full of an equal balance of humor, and introspect, and you have an interesting movie to say the least.  A perfect cast, a haunting vision, but Fincher fails slightly, when he relies on the testosterone of the fights, to hold the viewer's attention in between ideas.

Ultimately, Fight Club, is a powerful vision and  message, about society, and where we are going, if we’re not careful. However, Fincher’s hammers the point in too much, one too many mantra’s spewed by Pitt, a few too many, and unnecessary, fight scenes, and basically a confused feeling when you leave the theater. It will leave you thinking, but maybe not about what you should be.  Saying anymore, would ruin the experience.

It is hard to recommend this movie, it's one of those that you admire for its vision, admire for what it does and says most of the time. On the other hand, it is also one that will be confusing to some, disturbing , and even hit close to home for some for others, possibly to the point of dislike. Where does it fall on my scale? Well, a little over halfway, plus a half based solely on Norton’s performance ($$$ of $$$$)

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