Top 365 Films – #006 – Fight Club (1999)

Top 365 Films - Fight ClubDIRECTED BY: David Fincher

STARRING: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf, Jared Leto, Holt McCallany and Zach Grenier

BUDGET: $63m

EARNED (Worldwide): $100.9m

AWARDS: None (Oscar Nomination for Best Sound Effects Editing)

 

SYNOPSIS

An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more…

 

Fight Club has us follow a unnamed narrator who works for an automobile company assessing car crashes and is currently suffering from insomnia. Due to this he ends up being fixated with attending group therapy sessions for people who have survived various diseases. There he ends up meeting a woman named Marla, who is neither a victim nor a survivor like him attending these various sessions. On a flight home his life changes forever when he meets a man named Tyler Durden.

 

Time to break the first two rules and talk about Fight Club (Which I’m pretty sure that line has been overused to death for over a decade at this point as I type this up). If you thought that Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive polarised the film viewing audience, obviously we need to talk about David Fincher’s Fight Club in comparison with one of the spectrum stating that the film oozes in glorifying violence to extreme levels of macho-bullshit to the other believe that’s the point of the film and is pretty self-aware of what it’s saying, in particular with Tyler Durden’s philosophy. As we weave through neurone and brain cells in the films title credits, we see Tyler Durden holding a gun in the mouth of our narrator and then we’re told the story from the beginning of not only who the narrator is but how he came to know Durden, which takes us through down the path of raw, cynical violence, attack on consumerism and cultism, as we witness how far people will go to escape from a society that is killing them slowly within, one day at a time. There’s still the plot turn towards the films final act that can either act as a spoiler in mentioning it now incase you’ve never seen the film before or in replay values of the film can devoid it’s impact but there’s the clues that play on in the first act of the film that make the plot turn pretty inevitable on repeated viewings. Brad Pitt gives his best performance as Tyler Durden, a walking talking contradiction of human charisma, denouncing the Capitalism yet creates a highly organised cultist anarchy by his own rules treated as commandments by men ‘freed’ from their boring, ordinary lives. Edward Norton is terrific as the Narrator, making this his sixth feature film appearance, we follow his journey of insomniac to a man completely out of his depth as he witnesses this club that he and Tyler start out get more extreme as it goes along. Fincher creates a visually stunning film with style and confidence, it’s no wonder this film remains a cult classic.

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: The Narrator is in his boss’s office, is apart to be fired and removed from the room until he becomes ‘Jack’s smirking revenge’ and begins to beat himself up and throws himself around the place. ‘For some reason i thought of my first fight with Tyler.’ Some reason indeed.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.’ – The Narrator

DID YOU KNOW?: In the short scene when Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are drunk and hitting golf balls, they really are drunk, and the golf balls are sailing directly into the side of the catering truck. When a Fight Club member sprays the priest with a hose, the camera briefly shakes. This happens because the cameraman couldn’t keep himself from laughing. When the Narrator hits Tyler Durden in the ear, Edward Norton actually did hit Brad Pitt in the ear. He was originally going to fake hit him, but before the scene, David Fincher pulled Norton aside and told him to hit him in the ear. After Norton hit him in the scene, you can see him smiling and laughing while Pitt is in pain. Author Chuck Palahniuk has stated that he found the film to be an improvement on his novel. The original “pillow talk”-scene had Marla saying “I want to have your abortion”. When this was objected to by Fox 2000 Pictures President of Production Laura Ziskin, David Fincher said he would change it on the proviso that the new line couldn’t be cut. Ziskin agreed and Fincher wrote the replacement line, “I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school”. When Ziskin saw the new line, she was even more outraged and asked for the original line to be put back, but, as per their deal, Fincher refused. Starbucks pulled their name from the coffee shop destruction scene. They didn’t mind the director placing their product throughout the film, but did not want their name to be destroyed in that scene. Therefore, the gold globe crashes into a shop named Gratifico Coffee.

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