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copyright ©1999-2000

flick pick | Fight Club 1999
Directed by:
David Fincher

Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under:
new release, drama
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:
action-packed, hip, quintessentially quasi-adult, serious

Plot synopsis Edward Norton stars as the unnamed Narrator, an under-appreciated white-collar worker with no friends, no family, and a bad case of insomnia.  He begins attending support groups, compulsively and obsessively, when he discovers that the emotional release he gets from crying (this he first experiences in the arms of a big-breasted man at a testicular cancer group) allows him to sleep like a baby when he returns home.  Then Marla, another support-group addict and disease-faker, begins invading his territory; unable to cry in her presence, the Narrator’s left tossing and turning each night in bed again.  Between the lack of sleep and a crazy work schedule that leaves him flying from city to city across the country, he’s exhausted. Then he meets Tyler Durden, a mysterious soap salesman and all-around strange guy.  When he returns home to find his picture-perfect IKEA-ized apartment having exploded and burst into flames, he turns to Tyler for a place to stay.  Spurred on by Tyler’s anti-consumerist, back-to-primal-basics philosophy, the two friends try an experiment one night: they agree to beat the hell out of one another, taking out their natural aggressions by swinging fists. It’s bloody, it’s rough, and it makes them feel exhilaratingly in touch with life. Thus Fight Club is born, expanding rapidly as other men discover its appeal, and soon, similar clubs begin proliferating in dank underground hideaways across the country.

Review When Fight Club came out in the theatres, most women I knew stayed far away, put off by the purported graphic violence and the guy-centered marketing.  The sole attraction for me seemed to be Ed Norton, an actor so brilliant that he could pick lint off his pants on-screen and I’d probably find it riveting.  Norton is, of course, impressive, but there are so many other reasons why Fight Club turns out to be both slyly entertaining, and highly thought-provoking.  To begin with, the film’s über-cool, hyper-kinetic cinematography and gem-colored hues – rich rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, set against an inky black landscape – are a visual feast, and the clever, dead-on-target sequences showing the Narrator’s straight-out-of-a- catalog, pre-Fight Club life are guaranteed to bring a smile to any twenty-something who’s ever been guilty of salivating over an IKEA catalog.  Toss in the charm of Brad Pitt and his enigmatic Tyler Durden figure, add the lure of mystery as it begins to seem possible that our narrator is losing his mind, and tie it all together with a message that’s a true call-to-arms for us to break free from our enslavement to slick marketing, toss out all that superfluous, material junk that we’ve been brainwashed into thinking has value, and seek something more substantially real … and what you’ll find is an intriguing film that you’ll want to watch at least twice in order to catch all its delicious details. o

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