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With: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf
Written by: Jim Uhls, based on the book by Chuck Palahniuk
Directed by: David Fincher
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing and graphic depiction of violent anti-social behavior, sexuality and language
Running Time: 139
Date: 09/10/1999

Fight Club (1999)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Punch Drunk

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Seeing a David Fincher film (Alien 3, Seven and The Game) is like having an electronic gizmo plugged into your brain. It goes directly to its darkest corners and sucks at your deepest fears and desires. It's an invasive experience. Yet the whole thing feels electronic somehow. I don't know how future generations will regard this pop auteur, but for now, he's just the shot of electricity the cinema needs.

Fight Club is an exciting, dangerous, and intense story about an unnamed corporate worker played by the great Edward Norton who suffers from insomnia and attends group counseling for illnesses and conditions he doesn't have. His life gets turned around when he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). The two start an underground "fight club," which becomes a sort of secret society that continually grows, even though its members are not supposed to talk about it. Fight Club allows members to feel alive by triggering primal emotions not usually tested in modern life. The powerless feel powerful once again.

Meat Loaf has an interesting role as Bob, a big man with testicular cancer and hormonal problems. Helena Bonham Carter is at her best as Marla Singer, a screwed-up hanger-on who also attends group counseling simply for the human connection.

This movie takes a wrong turn when it attempts to make a larger statement by turning Fight Club into a militia bent on destroying everything that numbs American lives. The movie presents the militia as a mindless cult who follow their leader without question. The ultimate message of Fight Club is that there is no solution for feeling dead in modern society, except to maybe stop and smell the roses once in a while.

Fox's 2000 double-disc DVD release was one of the most stunningly awesome DVDs ever produced. It contained, among other things, four complete commentary tracks, 17 featurettes (with multiple angles), outtakes, storyboards, publicity gallery, concept art and some of the most bizarre Easter Eggs ever created. The accompanying booklet actually contains quotes from bad reviews as well as good ones.

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