May 04, 2012

Fight Club

Fight Club was released in 1999 and starred Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter. It was directed by David Fincher, and its screenplay was written by Jim Uhls, based on the 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk. It's considered to be one of the most controversial films at the time, and for good reason. It has violence, consumerism, and total chaos. Somehow, I understood why this film didn't sit well with a number of people at the time. However, watching it from a context that's closely related to what the movie was tackling, I had fun watching it.

This film had everything I want in a movie: comedy, action, and a psycho-thriller concept. It had social commentaries, and it dealt with sensitive issues including death. The beginning of the film was hilarious, yet also touching. The script was obviously geared to a lighter direction with the use of humor. However, the message behind the funny lines were moving as well, showcasing how desperate people are in the face of death, how people need people to lean on during difficult times. Although the film made use of wit and humor, it maintained the seriousness of these issues.

I guess the basic premise of the film is the story of man who has trouble sleeping. In the beginning, it was shown how he initially dealt with it, going to different support groups. This also served as a venue to meet Marla Singer (Carter). It also served as a platform for fight club.

It also depicted different aspects of society. Starting with the protagonist, played by Edward Norton, he embodies a normal man, with a normal job, living the normal life. In the beginning of the film, he was portrayed as a soldier of consumerism, building up his condo unit through Ikea catalogues. He bought whatever he saw was fit for his home. He lived a routinary life, flying to places where he was needed. Then, there's Tyler, a character that embodied how it was like to fight against consumerism, to not be a victim of what society dictates as a good lifestyle, a man that aimed to change the world. He was a man willing to use violence to declare war against the principles he thought were destructive. At the end of the day, considering these beliefs and actions, what defines a man?

It took me a couple of minutes to realize what the fight club represented. I might be wrong, but from what I got, it represented freedom. Going against social norms and doing what you want. It's a form of release for these people, a form of letting go of their inhibitions and succumbing to their desires of another life. Sometimes, we are put in a box, pressured to do what we ought to do; and sometimes, we just want to be a different person even for just a short moment. The fight club provided that opportunity.

I like the twist at the end regarding the characters of the narrator (Norton), and Tyler Durden (Pitt). It's like Shutter Island meets bloodshed. Once the truth was revealed, the film became even more exciting. This also cues Norton's character to chase time and prevent the start of chaos. The ending will show whether he succeeded or not.

Edward Norton is really one of the best actors of our generation. So is Brad Pitt, although I haven't seen a movie of him in a while. It's just weird how (if Wikipedia's claim is accurate) Brad Pitt was paid 17.5 million dollars, and Edward Norton was only paid 2.5 million. I know Brad Pitt's a big star, but so is Edward Norton. Plus, Norton had a lot more to do than Pitt. But I guess that's Hollywood transaction. I wish Norton was paid a little more, since he definitely gave a performance worth the bucks. Helena Bonham Carter looked twisted in this movie, and I mean that in the best way possible. It was her character though. It's just weird because she will be in Dark Shadows, and I've seen the promotional posters, and it's like Marla Singer all over again. But I guess that shows what an actress she is that she can embody these types of characters. Meat Loaf as Robert Paulsen was one of my favorite characters in the film.

I broke the first two rules of Fight Club by writing this. The first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club. The second rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club. I guess, the fight club members would understand when I say I broke the first two rules to highlight the brilliance that is the film. It became part of this generation's culture. I am glad it did. Fight Club is one of the most entertaining films, backed with a strong message.

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