Fight Club (1999)


General Information:

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18  139 min  –  Drama | Mystery | Thriller   –  12 November 1999 (UK)


David Fincher


Jim Uhls


Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter


Jack’s (Norton) life is dull and depressing: he is an insomniac, goes to cancer self-help groups (he doesn’t have cancer) and works in insurance. Suddenly he befriends Tyler Durden, and his life takes a dramatic twist. They form an underground fight club, yet their ‘Fight Club’ develops and becomes more and more to Jack’s disliking until eventually his life – and indeed: the world – spirals out of control…


Fight Club can be described by all of the film-critic-bullshit-clichés ever written: it is brutal, funny, disturbing, sexy, entertaining, mind-bending, breath-taking, thought-provoking – and bloody hell it’s violent. Well what is this film about? What is it not about? It’s about machismo, violence, sex, consumerism and fascism; yet it is also about: instinct, work, primal desires, money, and of course: soap (soap to make BOMBS!….obviously). All of these ideas and concepts are all mixed up and thrown into this mind-bendingly visual and darkly comic film. Yet, oddly, it works.

Jack narrates the film, it is told from his perspective. The first section of the film is philosophical and is a commentary mainly about consumerism and how Jack is bored with life. Jack is a sucker to consumerism, rather than watching TV and eating chips at night, he sits in his toilet and reads the IKEA catalogue pondering which furniture defines him as a person. He also goes to testicular cancer classes, even though he doesn’t have cancer, and because it makes him feel superior. (Hey, I said the humour was dark).

Suddenly, his life takes a turn, as he meets a soap-salesman named ‘Tyler Durden’ (Pitt). Jake envies Tyler because he is his opposite – he has a good body compared to him, is better looking, more confident, (and by the amount of noise made in the bedroom) is apparently good at sex.

Next thing you know, Jack’s condo blows up.

Bye-bye IKEA furniture. (Yes, that’s the satirical bit about consumerism.)

Luckily Jack phones Tyler and asks him to stay with him, they then form an underground fight club for many reasons: to vent aggression, to pass time because they are bored with life, to ‘get back’ at society. However, Fight Club builds and builds and builds until it becomes more serious: ‘Project Mayhem’.

This film is perhaps comparable to A Clockwork Orange: it is violent, yet it is also funny in areas in which it shouldn’t be. It challenges me as a viewer, and it distorts how I would normally react to violence. As a society violence is frowned on, yet in Fight Club it sets them free. The people doing the punching and the people receiving the punch both feel better than they’d ever felt in their entire life. Should we agree with what Tyler has done to these people? Has he really set them free or has he given them a false concept of being ‘free’? I’ll let you decide on these questions for yourself…


Funny, satirical and downright violent, Fight Club is not for the fainthearted, and must be viewed more than once in fear that it may be taken the wrong way. If it’s not a satire about fascism or consumerism, it is entertainment at the very least: original, bright, daring and bold; don’t you dare miss this cinematic gem.

One thought on “Fight Club (1999)

  1. Pingback: David Fincher Reviews… « Star Reviews

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