Larry’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sunday Morning Review!
It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
I finally got around to reading Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club this week. Its been sitting untouched on my shelf for almost a year now, and I honestly forgot I even had it. I kind of just laid down and started reading. About 6 hours later I was done and there was an insatiable lust inside me to rewatch the film. Coincidentally, Fight Club the film is another item on my shelf that doesn't get a lot of attention these days.
I have a violent, abusive love/hate with Fight Club. Its a film that I largely forget, or ignore and on many occasions I fail to give it any credit whatsoever. There have been times where I've hated it. But when the right mood comes around, we have wild, rough makeup sex that leaves me refreshed and fulfilled.
Well, I had some crazy make up sex with Fight Club. And it was awesome. This is the part where we lay next to each other with cigarettes in our mouths and we talk about our feelings. First I want to address how this film relates to the book. I was very impressed with how David Fincher replicated the energy and zeal from the book and pretty much nailed the quick narrative style flawlessly. With the exception of a few scenes changed and the modified ending, Fight Club pretty much IS the book beat by beat. Which is pretty impressive. When I read a book and watch its film adaptation or vice versa, I usually view them as different entities. Not these two. Its almost like they are one entwined organism. The story of the narrator and Tyler Durden made the jump to screen marvelously and the film is made with top notch quality. It takes a while to get going, but like clockwork, you reach a point of no return. Everyone hits a point in Fight Club where they realize "whelp. Now Ive GOT to finish it." It really is paced well enough to where it feels addicting. Like a drug. It isn't revolutionary with its narrative style and its twist is pretty basic. some attentive people can catch it before it happens but its such a fun, dark little ride getting there that its impossible to not have a good time.
I remember when I first watched Fight Club and the movie started shifting away from the actual fighting and started to transition into the Project Mayhem phase. This is where it separates itself from everything; Its title, its audience, itself. The story is told from inside the mind of the Narrator as his insomnia and depression has lead him to cross paths with the enigmatic Tyler Durden and the nocturnal Marla Singer. Him and Tyler start living together as they establish a secret club, and Marla drifts in and out. But things take a sinister turn as Tyler starts talking about making explosives, making a difference, and changing the world. Fight Club turns into Project Mayhem and then the Narrators life comes crashing down. But this is what Fight Club lives for.
Crashing down. "We've just lost cabin pressure."
Fight Club is an outward expression of masculinity and violence; a male fantasy in short. But where a lot of male fantasies turn inwards (ex: American Beauty) this one lashes out at everybody and everything. Do you ever have fantasies about breaking things? Setting something on fire? Knocking down a building? Beating someone up in a basement? Destroying something beautiful? Fight Club is a dream. Its your dream. Its a visceral attack on conformity and society, but outside of Project Mayhem and Fight Club, the world is empty. (Like most of your dreams, right?) Its denizens are only victims; whether they be from Tyler or Project Mayhem. Everyone is a victim of something. In this world the only thing that makes you rise above the rest is confronting your primal urges and giving in to your inner man. The psychology behind the film was always interesting, especially concerning the twist. We are sometimes characters born out of our own minds but not because we are crazy. because people drove us crazy. If it takes a little insomnia and some destruction to become who your subconscious wants you to be, go for it. Just don't become one of them. We are the deciders. We are the ones making your food and pumping your gas. We have nothing to lose.
"Do. Not. Fuck. With. Us."
David Finchers dark anarchist tale has become one of modern cinemas hidden little gems, but I feel like far to little credit is given to Chuck's novel. The novel had the story that was revolutionary, not the film. Its good, but recognizing it as important without acknowledging the book is a little unfair.
Buuuut forget about that. Fight Club is still an undeniably fun and energetic picture. The inner narration, the sharp almost self aware attitude, the dark rainy atmosphere, the snappy editing and pacing, the low, thumping bass soundtrack, like twisted free form jazz. Its a dark fiery picture. Its viscous, smart, and completely addicting. The chemistry between Pitt, and Norton is especially alluring.
Its fanbase, and some of its overblown praise sometimes taints the image of the film but if you can just have some dirty make up sex with it, you'll find that despite everything, Fight Club really is too cool to ignore. Its too good of a time to really put down.
And who doesn't love seeing Jared Leto getting his face smashed?