Fight Club is much more than just an action film. It is surprisingly deep, posing questions about true happiness and the meaning of life, as well as carrying political and psychological themes. And you know what? It’s all the better for it.The film is told through the eyes of Jack (Edward Norton, The Incredible Hulk, American History X), a monotonic insomniac narrator who is unhappy with life. A travelling employee of a car insurance company, he feels trapped by his consumer lifestyle and large corporations such as Starbucks and Ikea. As a resolution to this, he meets both Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter, Alice in Wonderland, The King’s Speech) at a series of support groups, and soap maker Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt, Snatch, Seven), with whom he forms Fight Club, an underground boxing organisation that allows participants to forget their troubles. However, this soon quickly escalates into Project Mayhem, a revolution against commercialism.
Fight Club mainly focuses on these three characters, particularly on the relationship between Jack and Tyler Durden. This shines through due to the director David Fincher’s portrayal, especially as they are all rather unhinged. Bonham Carter already has experience in these sorts of roles, and both Norton and Pitt carry themselves well. Tyler Durden is effectively what every person wishes they could be: a free spirit who isn’t restricted by things such as possessions and jobs. However, this central focus means that the other characters don’t get a lot of screen time, and some of them, such as Robert Paulson (Meat Loaf) could have been more developed.
It has quite a complicated plot that keeps the viewer’s guessing right until the end. This has an almost misleading affect, as I’m sure that many people, me included, were simply expecting a testosterone-fuelled action film. But in all honesty, I was pleasantly surprised at the left-wing anarchist direction that the plot took. And when it starts to look as if the pace starts to drag, the occasional element of humour is used to keep the audience awake. Although, at over 2 hours long, you have to pay attention.
Despite not being financially successful, Fight Club has become a cult classic, and it is clear why: a deep plot with a surprising ending, a strong central cast and of course “the first rule of Fight Club is…”