Movie Review: Fight Club

This movie came out in 1999, and what a way to end a millennium. Starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, two actors in their prime, Fight Club tells the story of an everyday office worker who comes to the realization that his life is boring and meaningless. After meeting his polar opposite, in the form Pitt’s character, Tyler Durden, our protagonist finds himself embroiled in an underground fight club, which eventually turns into something bigger.

The Good

There are many components when it comes to the makeup of a film. There’s the screenplay (the skeleton of the movie), the actors (the primary presenters), the director (who shapes how the story is presented), along with a myriad of other things (costume design, location, camera techniques, computer graphics, special effects, etc.). Fight Club is a great movie in all of these respects, and everything about its presentation makes it a hilarious and enjoyable two and a half hours.

The thing that stands out for me is the film’s distinct style. It’s gritty, unabashed, and couldn’t care less about your feelings or political correctness. Somehow, despite how offensive and ugly the quality of life is for our characters, the film never becomes too overzealous with its message. Yes, life and consumerism is shitty, but there’s something to laugh at too. I especially loved Tyler’s philosophical snippets. There’s something to be said about condensing abstract ideas about life and the universe into poignant one-liners, and Durden does it with ease, each one helping to reinforce the central theme of this movie.

"Space monkeys!"
“Space monkeys!”

The story works because it is so in tune with how materialistic the average consumer is. There is a modern and somewhat mystical belief that owning more things will make us happier, and that our worth in society is how much we make. Fight Club isn’t afraid to tackle these existentialist questions (Why are we really here? What are we supposed to do?), and as these are conundrums experienced by people of every age and culture, it has universal appeal, all the while offering simple answers. Perhaps all it takes for men to become emasculated again is to just throw a punch.

The Bad

To be honest, I really like this movie. I try to give all my movie reviews a fair and unbiased viewing. For me, there isn’t anything that makes this movie not enjoyable. People might get offended at the subject matter, and others may criticize the plot twist, but I love this film’s sense of humour, and I think Tyler Durden’s secret was well executed and believable. Even Marla, a character who totally could’ve come off as an obnoxious emo poser, is portrayed magnificently by Helena Bonham Carter. So there it is: I don’t have anything bad to say about Fight Club.

Fight Club makes me wet. In the best way possible.

Breaking Rules #1 and #2

Most people probably don’t watch movies for their moral lessons or social commentary. A movie that only cares about teaching us a lesson is boring and comes off as condescending, which is why Fight Club is so interesting.

This is a movie based on a novel, and the novel is obviously trying to say something. The part I most admire about Fight Club is how it manages to say something important while being entertaining at the same time. If you want your message to reach as many people as possible, it has to be presented in a universally appealing way. The film succeeds by taking on a subject matter that is relevant to its time period and even today, as well as being genuinely funny. These aren’t the only two ways to get people’s attention; you can have a riveting story or characters that audiences fall in love with. Hollywood shows us all the time that films can be successful without being an allegory of society.

But I appreciate it when storytellers and film directors try to do something more than create the next big blockbuster. Cinema is a medium that has the potential to reach a lot of people, so why not say something worthwhile? Fight Club does exactly this by being provocative (in a good way) and telling a fun story.

In Conclusion…

Definitely a guy-movie, definitely a must-watch. This is a movie about losers playing an unwinnable game called life. While not exactly relatable, the film deals with what we see around us every day. It’s coarse, it’s crude, and it’s willing to say out loud the uncomfortable truths. Just remember: while watching this movie, no shirts, no shoes.


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