Saturday, 1 November 2014

Review : Fight Club

Fight Club

By wanting to review this film, I'm going against the number 1 rule of Fight Club. 'Don't talk about Fight Club'. And yet here I am reviewing it.

The story goes that Ed Norton plays an insomniac office worker who is looking for a way to change his life. There is just nothing going anywhere for him. He is stuck in a status of stale mate. It's only when he crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, Tyler Durdan (Played by Brad Pitt) and they form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more dramatically drastic.

Going into the dynamics of Fight Club, In its first hour or so, this picture appears to be the most intreegingly spiteful and well-acted satire of our contemporary "crisis of masculinity": self-pitying guys hugging in groups and claiming victim status - modern consumer society having allegedly rendered the poor dears' hunter-gathering instincts obsolete.

But, by the end, it has unravelled catastrophically into a strident, shallow, pretentious bore with a "twist" ending that doesn't work. And it is a film which smugly flirts, oh-so-very-controversially, with some of the intellectual and cultural paraphernalia of fascism - but does not have anything like the nerve, still less the cerebral equipment, to back this pose up.

Edward Norton gives a compulsively twitchy, nerdy, hollow-eyed performance as Fight Club's Narrator: a 30-year-old single guy with a white collar job in the automotive industry and a secret addiction; he loves attending support groups posing as a sufferer. Hilariously, this is the only thing that gives him an emotional high.

Fight Club has a classic scene where he turns up at a testicular cancer victims' group and the participants have to pair off, hugging, sobbing and letting it all out. He teams up with Robert - a cracking performance from the singer Meat Loaf - who has grown tits after his balls have been cut off. How pathetic is that? How metaphorical is that?

Into this ghastly and frankly dysfunctional existence steps the super-cool and way charismatic Tyler Durden, a travelling soap salesman in a cerise leather jacket and funky, Elvis-ish shades: a witty and seductive performance from Brad Pitt, who has never been better. Tyler introduces Ed to the Fight Club: secret bare-knuckle brawls where nerdy wimps such as Norton get to reconnect life-changingly with their inner macho men.

Where it all comes apart is where Tyler tries to use the fight club as the basis for a kind of anarcho-terrorist gang, subverting and blowing up the symbols of bullshit corporate America that have taken their testicles away. Tyler brands Ed Norton's arm with a "kiss" mark in acid, laying down a sub-Sadeian/Nietzschean riff about how it is only in pain that you can forget about the fatuity of God and become yourself. He reveals that the soap he sells is made of human fat, stolen from liposuction clinics - and later we hear his followers will have to provide their own black shirts.

Pretty unsubtle. We know which associations and images Brad and Ed are fooling around with. But do they? The implications are never followed through, and the movie never has the balls really to take responsibility for the nihilism, rage and despair it appears to be gesturing towards.

Overall Fight Club is an Amazing film, with some great one liners, just a bit contempary. I will give it 8/10.

NEXT : Disney's, The Lion King.

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