AN EMPIRE OF WORDS

Fight Cub (1999)

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I imagine David Fincher’s 1999 adaptation ranks highly is everyone’s mind and at the moment of writing, Fight Club sits tenth on IMDb’s ‘Top 250’ films. Fight Club has that popular fandom, as majority of response’s about Fight Club is that you are not supposed to talk about Fight Club.

These are the first two rules of the popular underground club formed by Edward Norton’s insomniac narrator and Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a soap salesman he meets during his many jet adventures. Norton narrates through his monotonous life, as he goes to support groups for ailments he doesn’t have, like testicular cancer or blood parasites to relieve his insomnia.

Fincher has an eye for the darker films, having directed Se7en before this and following up his 1999 cult classic with Panic Room and Zodiac. He manages to give the screen a darker, ominous presence as the use of shadows and night-time throughout this film really accentuate this effect.

As Norton’s narrator flies us through the support meetings and his sleepless nights, it’s worth noting this film is a slow burner to begin with. As soon as the Narrator meets Tyler Durden, as this point the film picks up it’s pace. In the opening twenty or so minutes, it was a quick run through the Narrators life and the support groups he attends, as soon as he meets Tyler, he returns home to find his Condo blown up.

With nowhere to turn and no one to turn to, he takes a chance on calling Tyler Durden and asks for a place to stay. From here, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton form a rather strange relationship on screen as the two are seemingly polar opposites. Especially as the Narrator has a white collar job for a major car company working out whether to recall the cars or not, whereas Durden is a night worker with a string of different jobs, including a waiter.

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One of the biggest selling points about Chuck Palahniuk’s book is the twist towards the end of the film, but the way in which David Fincher plays this out is excellent. Especially after the first watch, the following watches you become entranced in just how clever Fincher was in the build up to the twist.

This is in part thanks to the acting of Norton and Pitt as the duo, but also Helen Bonham Carter’s Marla becoming entwined in their relationship. Throughout the 130+ minute runtime, the film does divulge itself in it’s violence as we see Tyler beaten to a pulp as well as the Narrator beating Angel Face (Jared Leto) to a pulp, for no apparent reason.

Fincher mixed this in with Durden’s view on the world, that being very, very against anything mildly corporate. Brad Pitt plays Durden with excellence, really flowing with the carefree attitude that surrounds Durden. Norton does back Pitt up with his uptight white collar worker.

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David Fincher washes Fight Club in a sickly green tint which really relays the darker undertone that flows throughout the film, as the Narrator and Durden stories become entwined. The story takes a change of pace as Durden runs free with franchising Fight Club, whilst the Narrator struggles to keep up with Durden and his extravagant plans.

Fight Club is a definitely an exciting ride of a film. David Fincher manages to expertly play it out with Pitt and Norton lifting the story off the screen. Fincher washing the film in a sickly and darker undertone really worked for this adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s original book.

The use of violence throughout and the anti-corporate message seems to be placed at perfect intervals throughout Fight Club and doesn’t seem to ramming this message down your throat. My only gripe with Fight Club is the opening 20 or so minutes are properly slow burning. Once the Fight Club takes off, the film picks up it’s pace, but that opening is tough to swallow. That being said, the method is which Fincher delivers the plot twist is brilliant and subsequent viewings reveal the masterful touch on this story and it’s revealing of the plot. After recently re-watching Fight Club it’s clear to see why it ranks highly on peoples list and sits tenth on the IMDb top 250 list.

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Author: Nathan Harris

Currently studying Film & Television studies and Media Writing at Derby University. Hopefully wanting to become a film critic/journalist.

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