Guest Review by Mike Flores
When the movie Fight Club begins, you see human arteries and hear the pounding music of the Dust Brothers and your heart starts to pound and it will pretty much be pounding for the rest of the film. Fight Club could very easily have been called Fright Club and, I assure you, is not simply an action film; it is not only a psychotronic movie, it is also a damn fine film as well. It isn’t to be compared to a Steven Seagal or Van Damme movie. I think if you compare it to any film, it would have to be A Clockwork Orange.
Edward Norton, the nameless narrator of the story, first appears as an insurance agent who covers up for auto manufacturers. He suffers from insomnia and attends disease-counseling groups for the excitement of being around people coming to grips with their impending deaths. He meets Tyler Durden on a flight home and is drawn to the dangerous side of Durden, played by Brad Pitt. When Norton arrives home, he finds the fire department hosing down his sidewalk. An explosion in his apartment has left him homeless. He calls Durden and they meet for drinks. After Durden agrees to let him crash with him, he challenges Norton to a fight in the parking lot of the bar. And Norton finds that he likes fighting.
Norton, our narrator, moves into what appears to be an abandoned building that Durden occupies. The fights become a weekly event, and through the pain both begin to find redemption and knowledge. They form a fight club, a secret society that meets throughout the week and stages no-holds-barred fights. And begins to commit acts of terror against society.
Teen and college-girl groupies are hungered for by musicians, but avoided like the plague by actors. It is interesting to see how actors cope with teen-heartthrob status. Leonardo DeCaprio left the country. Brad Pitt seems to have decided to trash his image and he looks street, busted teeth and all, but still has enough sexual charisma that he becomes the ultimate bad boy fantasized about by most young girls. So I don’t think he will lose his fad fans because of this film. Which is too bad, because he really is one of the three best actors working in the business today (the other two would be Robert Duvall and Johnny Depp). The role of Tyler Durden is so male, so violent and so scary I don’t think it will win him any converts either. The press has exploded on this film as critics have lined up and are either blasting it to pieces or giving the film their highest praise. I am telling you that the performances of the year are the ones given by Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, and if this were a just world they would both be nominated for Academy Awards. Not bloody likely.
Director David Fincher (Se7en) does not flinch from the grittiness of the film, and does cutting that I haven’t seen since Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch. Helena Bonham Carter shows up as a street tramp and looks as gritty as everyone else. The film script by Chuck Palahniuk blends horror, violence, large doses of dark humor and a myriad of plot twists and turns.
Edward Norton is one of the most interesting actors working in the business today. He is also a courageous actor, because he could easily be promoted as a good guy but takes on roles most actors would shrink from. (American History X may have had a flawed ending, but Norton did a top-to-bottom great job.) In Fight Club he also has one of the best final shots I think I’ve ever seen in a film. Fight Club will easily make my top ten list for this year.