Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Best Movies Of The Nineties: 'Fight Club' Review (1999)

The final year of the nineties spawned several movies which consciously or otherwise, attempted to capture the zeitgeist, and Fight Club, alongside The Matrix, is perhaps the most pre-eminent in this respect. David Fincher's study of masculinity and alienation from consumer culture set new boundaries for aesthetics and effects in cinema, bringing the visual stylistics familiar to MTV audiences to a bear on the major spiritual and philosophical questions of the day. "We have no Great War, no Great Depression," insists Brad Pitt's infamous, violent but verbose character Tyler Durden. "Our great war is a spiritual war, our great depression is our lives” in a clarion call that spoke authentically to a generation who would go on to question the impact of modern capitalism on the environment and the developing world in the decade followed.

Described by the director and cast as a black satire, the action begins with Edward Norton as a
bored, insomniac insurance loss-adjuster, who gets bonuses the less his companies pays out to the injured, going about his job, as he begins to question his meaningless existence. A chance meeting with soap salesman Tyler Durden (Pitt) leads to a close friendship which shakes him out of his alienation, while Helena Bonham Carters' crazed goth chick strikes up a relationship with his newfound friend, leading to a confounding love triangle that isn't what it seems.

The release of the film was distracted by concern and controversy over copycat “Fight Clubs” being started across the US, in much a similar fashion to the media debacle that accompanied the release of Stanley Kubricks' A Clockwork Orange two decades earlier. An underwhelming box office performance and mixed reviews on the film's release were however later reappraised in light of the film's second life on DVD as the story found a cult audience, going onto become of the most loved films in recent years. Some of the most quotable lines in movie history helped, as did a highly unique visual style developed by Fincher, which went on to influence countless directors in its' aftermath. Oh, and you'll never look at a bar of soap the same way again.....