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FIGHT CLUB

Directed by David Fincher
Screenplay by Jim Uhls
Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk
Starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton,
Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf Aday, Jared Leto
My advice: Entertaining, but lags overall
Rating: out of

I would like to say that this is another film you are clearly going to love or you're going to hate. I can't, because I fell somewhere in between. There were moments of Fight Club that left me shifting in my seat and wishing I had a watch to check, and then there were moments were I was on the edge of my perch just waiting for a new revelation.

That's what this movie is all about. Revelation. Self loathing and mind numbing commercialism left untreated over time can breed explosive contempt in any man. In Fight Club, it does.

Let's meet the "Story Teller" (Norton). A cookie cutter guy of the white collar variety, we never even learn his name. He works in a small cubicle at a car company where he plods depressingly along in his duties as a "recall coordinator." What this means is he gets to look at car accidents all day long. Day after maddening day he goes from city to city, running the numbers to determine if a cause of an accident will cost more in lawsuit liabilities than if the company were to just pony up and recall, fixing the root problem itself.

The dreary work accompanied by an equally dreary home life brings about chronic insomnia in our Story Teller and he soon embarks on a rich fantasy life jam packed with death and destruction in an attempt to escape.

He attempts to get help but his doctor won't prescribe any medication for the pain he feels he is suffering and instead advises that he attends a support group for men with testicular cancer, "to see what real pain is." Thus, an addict is born.

The Story Teller finds an odd comfort in this support group where everyone is welcomed and encouraged to vent. Soon one group is not enough. He begins hitting a different group each and every night -- tuberculosis, lymphoma -- and the comfort he feels in this unwavering acceptance finally allows him to sleep. That is, until he encounters a fellow support group addict, Marla Singer, hauntingly played by Helena Bonham Carter.

He simply can't share these groups and a "Tourist," as he tells Marla she is, leaves him incapable of the necessary crying needed for sleep. They trade off groups, days, alternating visits. Whatever is needed to keep his unreality alive and well.

After an explosion in his apartment the Story Teller moves in with a salesman of soap, Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), who he meets on a return flight home from another company gig. Durden is the antithesis of our Teller. Handsome in a viral way, flashy and a risk taker, he is everything the Teller longs to be but is not. Durden will eventually prove to be highly skilled with the ladies as well, and begins a relationship with the Teller's Marla. Pay close attention to this affair as it unfolds; it's integral to the story line.

On their first night out, buddying around the clubs, Durden and the Teller begin an impromptu fight outside of the bar. Finding a primal release in these matches that they can't find in their dreary daytime lives, the do battle night after bloody night. No hard feelings. Just a few quick punches and bruises exchanged on a road to self realization. It doesn't take long for spectators to begin gathering and "want in." It's here where Fight Club is born.

This movie runs long and the conversation can occasionally be a labor to follow but the script is clean and sprinkled with satirical humor throughout. All of the cast is extraordinary and Pitt is leaner and buffer than I have ever seen him. I know that shouldn't come into play in a review, but....yum.

Fight Club is odd and it's quirky but I'd give it a go. Just wait until video.

 

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