Fight Club
(2-Disc "Paper Wrapper" S.E.)

Director: David Fincher
Year: 1999
TRT: 2:19

Reviewed: 2/2/03

This is a love it or hate it kinda movie. I'll start with the talent, specifically the actors. Edward Norton is absolutely perfect as the apathetic, cynical claims adjuster-type who encounters a bit of a hitch in what he considers a life, and his hooking up with a soap salesman named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). It's at this point where things get a bit odd. There's a woman (again, a great role by Helen Bonham Carter), some soap, and a growing amount of chaos. How do they all tie together? That is the beauty of this movie. Despite its totally unconventional plotline, it still is coherent, and you can't help but wonder what the fuck is really going on here? Reality is not what it seems, and you have to watch the film twice in order to truly understand what's what. Where se7en deals with more timeless themes, this movie is a bit more generation-dependent. Sure you may see the bigger picture, but I can't imagine most people over the age of 35 liking this film much. I realize this now, and feel sorry for my mum after my brother and I having made her sit and watch this. I'm sure she's still wondering what the hell this messed up piece of shite was all about (but she at least liked Reservoir Dogs, so she has that going for her).

What will you get out of this movie? I think every person walks away with their own opinion on the film. Obviously there is a lot of violence involved, and for those who want to look into the movie beyond some stupid macho anarchist bullshit, you'll see there is a reason behind everything, and makes some very relevant statements for our generation. It's a twisted manner in which to do it, but gives the viewers a crazy ride in the process, and staying true to the purely fucked up, the film doesn't end with some preachy moral enlightenment or tidy answers of how to make things better. It makes me want to read the book it is based on (by Chuck Palahniuk). If the film is this damn funny (more in a cynical, black humor and not a stupid, Jim Carrey kind of way), I imagine the written stuff is that much more venomous. I'll just make sure I pay cash for it when I buy it.

So yeah, this review is much like the movie. It goes all over the place but in the end wraps itself up into a freakish little love story. Keeping with many of the movies on the dmr thus far, it sure as hell ain't your average Hollywood fare, and I'm surprised 20th Century Fox (yes, even Fox) had the brass balls to greenlight this movie in the first place. But I'm glad they did, as this is a very unique piece of storytelling, and as with all Fincher films, looks great from beginning to end. I will note that there are some very cutting-edge CG scenes integrated into the movie. Minus one involving a trash can, they are all spectacular in that they look great and are there truly to progress the story and not as some lame-o FX showcase (see Star Wars II review).

Great Scene: There's a few, but my favorite is when Norton is walking through his apartment, and it is laid out in the epitome of your "perfect" catalog decor, with item descriptions being laid over as he walks through. Simple but brilliant.

Media Notes: Though not quite as extensive as the se7en DVDs, this is still a top-notch thematic 2-DVD set that gives you a boatload of extra materials. The first DVD includes 4 commentary tracks, one with Fincher solo, one with Fincher, Norton, Pitt, and Carter, one with the author of the book (Palahniuk) and the author of the screenplay (Jim Uhls), and the final one with the D.P., Production Designer, Costume Designer, and CG dude extraordinaire.

The second DVD has an obligatory Cast & Crew segment which is kinda lame, but everything else is pretty well done. It goes extensively into the behind-the-scenes making of the film, and is one of the best uses I've seen so far of alternate angle video and audio tracks. It goes into great depth on the CG-rendered scenes that are pretty cool to see the progression from storyboard stage to final render and integration. There's a couple of deleted/edited scenes (imagine that), and a "publicity material" section that has your usual collection of trailers, tv & internet spots, and a music video, and some hilarious PSA's, but there's also a copy of the press kit shown in detail that corresponds perfectly with the materialistic mindset of the film, and a cool transcript of an interview Norton did at his alma mater (Yale) after going back there to show the film. There is also an art gallery section that has a substantial collection of still photographs of all aspects of the production, pre-production paintings, the title sequence mapped out, as well as storyboards for the whole movie. Overall a great in-depth look at how this surreal kind of movie came to be a reality.

There's also a nicely-designed 20-page booklet containing quotes from a wide variety of people on the movie, including excerpts from reviews after its release. There's some good ones in there, both positive and negative (from the folks that, well, just didn't get it, most likely over the age of 35).


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