Wednesday 26 November 2014

Fight Club - movie review

Fight Club is one of those films that didn't do well at the box office when it was first released fifteen years ago, but it later gained an extensive following as its qualities came to be appreciated. Now, it's well established as a cult movie that is regarded in some quarters as a masterpiece. I'd never got round to watching it until recently, but the director, David Fincher, is someone whose work I've found myself admiring more than once - and I haven't even seen Gone Girl yet.

Edward Norton plays an unnamed young man who suffers from insomnia and works in a stultifying office environment. Failing to get medical help, he attaches himself to various support groups, pretending, amongst other things, to be a cancer sufferer. He encounters the weird but attractive Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) who is another impostor. He tries to shake her off, but she keeps coming back into his life. Another encounter, with the dashing Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) results in the formation of a "fight club". Men fight each other in secret in order (amongst others to channel their despair about their lives). Soon "fight clubs" are springing up all over the US, and a pattern of destructivenss starts to take shape.

There is a memorable plot twist in this film, and although there are spoilers all over the internet, I don't intend to add to them, so my comments about the film have to be guarded. As with Fincher's other movies, I thought there was much to admire here, especially in the acting, the dazzling photography, and a number of witty lines of dialogue. But I did think that the film went on too long, and for me, that slightly reduced its impact. The fight scenes also left me cold, simply because I've always detested the idea of people fighting. Possibly the length of the film was why it was not an instant hit. I am sure, however, that it is one of those films that will repay a second viewing.

The plot twist in Fight Club is one of the best I can remember in a movie, even though I like some of Fincher's other films better. Perhaps my all-time favourite twist is that in The Usual Suspects, and Body Heat is another candidate. Here, Fincher cleverly integrates the twist into the theme of the film. The art of the plot twist fascinates me, but again, it's a subject that is hard to discuss without spoilers. All I can say is that, although it took me far too long to get round to watching Fight Club, I'm glad I did.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I didn't like the fight scenes in the movie either, but, like you, the twist at the end was unexpected.

I do prefer The Usual Suspects to this movie. Thanks for the review.