Fight Club (1999)

Long sit!  Clocking in at a draggy 2 hours and 19 minutes, director 
David Fincher's FIGHT CLUB is a visually vowing, smartly scripted, 
ultra-violent-when-it-wants-to-be, edge-pushing-then-punching-all-
the-way-through, blackly comic-as-they-come anarchist epic starring 
Edward Norton (AMERICAN HISTORY X) as a sleepwalking-through-life 
single guy whose fate abruptly changes after meeting a most-unusual 
soap salesman (Brad Pitt).  For starters, he and his new friend co-
create an underground boxing club, where all the other young (or-
not-so-young) dudes can beat themselves bloody.  (As Pitt's charac-
ter explains "how much can you know about yourself if you've never 
been in a fight?")  Alas, as membership grows-- and franchises form 
in other cities-- so do the group's goals.  (Pulling pranks, pick-
ing fights with strangers, committing acts of vandalism, etc.)  And 
our hero, watching with increasing disbelief, is stuck smack dab in 
the middle of something he doesn't even *begin* to understand.

I suppose the case be made that *all* of Fincher's films are worth 
a watch, if solely for the superb lighting, colors, and textures.  
(Each has an exquisitely gloomy look.)  And though this one isn't 
nearly in the same league as SEVEN or THE GAME, there *are* several 
must-see sequences, such as a bone-cruchingly lovely car crash, 
when Pitt's character ups the ante of self-awareness to include 
letting yourself drive off a highway.  Other scenes get high marks 
for high comedy, such as a dumpster diving at a liposuction clinic.  
(Time to render the fat!)  Too bad the whole thing's as butt-numb-
ing as it is explosively thought-provoking.  (And funny...  And 
frightening...)  I mean, there's gotta be thirty extra minutes 
here, at least!  Maybe there'll be a shorter director's cut on DVD 
someday.  Or were we just suppose to tape our eyes open?  Freude, 
schoner Gotterfunken...  With Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter, and 
Meat Loaf as a former bodybuilder with big breasts and no balls.  
Don't ask.  (Rated "R"/139 min.)

Grade: C+

Copyright 1999 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: October 17, 1999

[an error occurred while processing this directive]