- Rated R
- Buy the Blu-ray
All photos © 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
he end of the 1990s was a great time for movies, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who disagrees. While 1999, in particular, didn’t feature too many Oscar contenders (“American Beauty” walked away with most of the major awards, and rightfully so), it did see the release of modern classics like “The Matrix,” “Office Space,” “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “Election” and “Run Lola Run” – all films that have stood the test of time over the last ten years. Of that group, however, none have aged better than David Fincher’s “Fight Club,” a movie that some critics still take at face value instead of as the satire that it is.
Edward Norton stars as the unnamed narrator of the film, a traveling automobile company employee suffering from chronic insomnia. When his doctor refuses to prescribe him any medication, he finds a different cure by attending support groups that offer the kind of emotional release he needs to sleep. It’s all going great until Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) – a fellow “tourist” who attends the meetings for the free coffee – shows up and ruins everything. That is, until he meets his new friend, Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), and they haphazardly start an underground fight club that swells into something bigger than either of them could have possibly imagined. But before long, Tyler takes what initially began as a stress-relieving leisure activity and turns it into a sociopolitical vehicle of anarchic mayhem.
Though the film has been discounted by many for its graphic content, there’s a lot more to “Fight Club” than bone-crunching punches and blood-soaked basement floors. The promise of those fight scenes might have been what made it so appealing to male audiences in the first place, but anyone who has seen the film will tell you that it’s not the only reason for its success. Violence aside, “Fight Club” is actually a pretty funny movie, and despite the fact that the script isn’t completely faithful to Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, it does retain his pitch black sense of humor. In fact, this is one of those rare cases where the movie is just as good as, if not better than, the book, and I highly doubt Palahniuk would argue the case. After all, there weren’t too many people that had read "Fight Club" before the movie was released, but now he's one of the most celebrated writers of his generation, and it's no doubt thanks in part to the film.
“Fight Club” isn’t an easy book to adapt, but David Fincher has a field day with some of the cool camera tricks he gets to employ, like in the condo explosion sequence and bringing the IKEA catalog to life. His greatest contribution to the film, however, was casting Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden. Though the movie owes a lot to Edward Norton’s strong lead performance, Pitt steals the show as the flashier of the two characters. It also proved to be a seminal role in the actor’s career, as it gave him a platform in which to break out of his pretty-boy mold and experiment with some edgier material. And when it comes to films from the last decade, they don’t get much edgier than “Fight Club.” It might not be as controversial as it was back in 1999, but it’s definitely just as relevant.
10th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray Review:
It’s hard to believe that it’s already been ten years since David Fincher’s “Fight Club” was released, but Fox has made sure that you won’t forget about it any time soon with one of the best Blu-rays of the year. That may sound like a pretty bold statement, but between the new 1080p video transfer and the hours upon hours of special features, it’s one that would be pretty hard to argue against. Not only has Fox included all of the bonus material from the previous DVD releases (including four audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and several production featurettes), but they’ve also added some new extras as well. “A Hit in the Ear” is a cool featurette that allows you to remix four different scenes with the help of sound designer Ren Klyce, while “Flogging Fight Club” offers a behind-the-scenes look at Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and David Fincher’s acceptance speech for the film’s induction into the Guy Movie Hall of Fame. The piece de resistance, however, is “Insomniac Mode: I Am Jack’s Search Index,” a game-changing interactive database that allows you to search any part of the disc (whether it's a particular scene, special feature or discussion point) from a large glossary of terms.