by Bret W.
Lies reflecting lies, sleep-deprived insanity, and Jack’s disjointed apathy. These seem to be the central themes to a thought-provoking and nightmarish film innocently called Fight Club. The title invokes images of a men’s health and fitness gym, but it is so much more than that, and it’s the way that the men come together under the guiding and watchful eye of their mentor and leader that is so frightening. For we as the audience are witness not to the birth of a club or a support group, but an army, a cult of action and violence-laden message bearing.
It all begins innocently enough, as the narrator takes us through the insomnia which drives him to a support group for men with testicular cancer (although he does not have it himself) where he finds inner peace through the support of the other men. He finds himself addicted to support groups, and his life becomes a slow parade of free coffee and donuts, tearful hugs and long deep slumbers. But a woman begins going to all the different groups that he goes to, and this upsets his balance, and he is no longer able to sleep. In his insomniac suffering, he meets a man named Tyler Durdin, a man completely unlike anyone he has ever met. When a freak explosion blows up his condominium, he goes to live with Tyler. As they leave a bar on the first night, Tyler asks the narrator to hit him as hard as he can, stating that a man cannot know about himself unless he’s been in a fight. What begins as a fight becomes a series of fights, and other men join in. Soon it becomes a Saturday night gathering and the Fight Club is born.
Tyler quickly steers the group into a following, and begins handing out assignments to the members, like starting a fight with a stranger and losing. Other more chaotic assignments lead to the formation of another group, Project Mayhem. When the narrator begins to feel himself losing control of what started as the Fight Club, he finds no help in the membership of Project Mayhem, who seem to look up to him as reverently as they do Tyler. When Tyler disappears one day he goes looking for him in a host of cities, until one day he discovers the awful truth that leads to his greatest battle.
Fight Club is the odd and strange tale of one man’s battle with himself, his insanity and his plight. The language is powerful and surreal. The action is wild and chaotic. The shots are dark and shadowy. It’s a mainstream art film, and it says so itself and proudly. The acting is excellent, especially when it comes to some of the fight scenes. Ed Norton fighting himself in his boss’s office is as good a fight scene as I’ve ever seen. If you’ve got the stomach, this is as excellent a film as you will see. Except for the ending, it was a perfect film. I was a little disappointed in the way it ended, especially the way the movie had been running up until then. But it was still an excellent film, and I give it my highest recommendation.