First Time Watch: Fight Club (1999)

Director: David Fincher

Writers: Chuck Palahniuk, Jim Uhls

Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf

RATING:

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A nameless first person narrator attends support groups in attempt to subdue his emotional state and relieve his insomniac state. When he meets Marla, another fake attendee of support groups, his life seems to become a little more bearable. However when he associates himself with Tyler he is dragged into an underground fight club and soap making scheme. Together the two men spiral out of control and engage in competitive rivalry for love and power. – From IMDB

First time watch is not strictly true in regards to this film. I have seen this once before, but it was a long time ago, and I remembered basically nothing, I don’t think I gave it the attention is required or deserved that first time. So I am calling this my first proper watch of this film. I am so torn over what to rate and say about this film because objectively, it is a cinematic, technical and narrative masterpiece and deserves all the praise and accolades that it receives. But speaking purely subjectively, in terms of things I enjoy in a film, this isn’t a genre or a story that appeals to me.

This film contains one of the most prolific plot twists in history, and the film is written so well that you really do not se it coming until the very very moment it is revealed to you. If you have somehow managed to go the last twenty years and not find out the huge plot twist in the final act of this film, first of all congratulations, and second of all, if you pay close attention to the film, and to the way minor characters interact with Tyler and our Narrator, there are signs the whole way through. The signs are subtle and done very very cleverly so that they are barely noticeable, but they are there. The pace can feel brutally slow at some points, and balls-to-the-wall at other parts, particularly as we come towards the end, but for everything to make sense, you really need to hang in there until the end.

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Our three leads Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter are all absolutely phenomenal. As much as this film is not my cup of tea, at all, I can still appreciate the spectacular performances that make it what it is. All three are completely eccentric and a little unhinged in their own ways. And the more the film goes on the crazier everyone gets as the Narrators mental state slowly gets worse. None of them are likable people, but that isn’t the point, you are just along for the crazy ride.

There is a lot of gratuitous violence, as you would expect from a film called ‘FIGHT Club’ and even more gratuitous and over the top sex. There are a lot of themes that some people will find hard to swallow, and none of them handle particularly delicately or with respect. It’s trying to instil a dark, grimy atmosphere across the whole film, to create a world that needs to be destroyed, and make everyone seem sad and depressed, which it achieves, but to the detriment of any real emotion.

It’s definitely going to have it’s die hard fans, and it’s going to have people that hate it with a fiery passion. I fall somewhere in the middle. It’s not one I will go back to any time soon.

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