As a perpetual cyberpunk fantasy freak, I was surprised to have watched Fight Club so late into my movie viewing career. The cult classic starring Edward Norton as the unnamed narrator and Brad Pitt as soap salesman Tyler Durden has gained wide recognition across all media, reaching fans old and young in its continual quest to portray a modern celebration of chaos.
The film begins in the midst of the narrators insomnia as he seeks out some way to take control back in his life. After visiting a testicular cancer victims group and crying into the shoulder of a fellow victim, he miraculously finds the answer to his insomnia and quickly becomes addicted to attending the support groups of various other conditions. He seeks out the suffering of others as a means of coping with his own inner pains.
As the weeks progress, he realizes that a woman clearly an imposter has been attending the very same sessions as him. When he approaches her, she reveals herself as Marla (Helena Bonham Carter), a mysterious and sultry woman whose presence in his support groups begins to revive his insomnia, much to his chagrin. Nonetheless, after some convincing, she eventually agrees to alternate her days and they part ways.
The film quickly shifts its focus as the narrator continues on his travels as an automobile recall specialist. He meets Tyler Durden, another salesman, on an airplane ride, where they quickly connect with one another. When he arrives home to find his apartment demolished, he calls up Tyler for help. Their conversation dissolves to consumerism, and in an odd turn of events, Tyler eventually asks the salesman to punch him, starting the first of their many fistfights that would eventually attract a following known as the fight club.
Unlike conventional action films, the movies plot is disconnected and jerks back and forth in time, with Nortons voiceovers explaining past events and characterizations to an unseen audience. Meanwhile, the use of limited perspective suspends the viewer in the understanding of Nortons character, heightening a suspense as the movie begins to uncover its truths.
Its not difficult to see why the film has struck a chord with so many individuals over the years. Whether its the cheerfully fascist overtones, the testosterone-fueled pseudo-eroticism, or the films eerily familiar depiction of freedom, theres never been anything like Fight Club before.
In the underground lairs of the fight club, some of the most violent and unforgiving scenes commence, giving forth to the wonderment of just how far the audio-visual team went to depict a realistic fight. Directed by David Fincher and written by Jim Uhls, the movie contains some of the most grisly, brutal scenes between characters, unrelenting in its depiction of the violence that the charismatic Durden has inspired.
His presence seems to be more of a warning than a true celebration of anarchy. Still, Durden can also be said to exemplify hidden aspects of the male psyche that seep out as the movie progresses. From the cleverly witty characterizations and details to the ever-increasing darkness of the fight clubs, the film drives its way through it plot by means of action in this case, a testosterone-fueled fist of fury.
Fight Clubs excessive dark-cast cinematography, and use of modern visual effects exemplifies it as a film of its time, modern in both its subject matter and in its depiction of corruption and turmoil. Both Pitt and Nortons characters are portrayed in raw, with flaws clearly separating them and yet tying them together to the beast that they have founded. Nonetheless, there is still a spark of humanity that burns through the narrative of the film, and whose presence forces the audience to reckon with the question of where their own humanity stands, and whether they can contend with the darker forces within their own minds.