Fight Club (18)

Review by Jack Foley

SE7EN director David Fincher has done it again - pulling off another mind-blowing modern masterpiece that became one of the talking points of its year.

Described by some as "the most dangerous mainstream movie to come out of Hollywood since A Clockwork Orange", Fight Club is, nevertheless, as brave and challenging a film as you are ever likely to see.

Edward Norton stars as The Narrator, a normal, intelligent worker whose hum-drum existence is dictated by a materialistic world in which his only solace can be found in the arms of people attending support groups for ailments such as testicular cancer.

Upon meeting Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden, however, the two form Fight Club - a place in which men can rediscover their masculinity by beating the living daylights out of each other. But as Fight Club takes off, becoming franchised in each city, an underground militia is formed which targets the very fabric of society - forcing Norton to wrestle with his own conscience while coming to terms with his feelings for Helena Bonham Carter's social misfit.

Fincher's movie can be taken on many levels - part fight movie, part social comment and part love triangle - but it never fails to command interest. In fact, watching as Fincher bombards you with one startling image after another is rather like being on the end of one of Pitt's beatings.

Yet while viewers may emerge punch drunk, they will no doubt be thinking about its implications for days afterwards, at the same time as pondering just how something so dark could also be so laugh-out-loud funny. Some say it is dangerous film-making - but shockingly compulsive would be more appropriate.

This is an essential addition to any film collection.

"You have now lost cabin pressure" - Punch drunk, more on Fight Club
(spoiler warning: The following contains plot details, so don't read on if you haven't seen it).

AS anti-materialist as it is anti-feminist, Fight Club manages to ask some valid questions about the society in which we live without ever insulting its audience. Shocking, startling and very violent, it is the type of movie which has the courage of its convictions to see things through, serving as a slap in the face to audiences raised on an unsavoury diet of formulaic, safe and 'happy ever after' Hollywood pap.

Without doubt, one of the films of the year, if not the decade, Fight Club's dangers lie in the minds of those who are already unstable who will no doubt be encouraged to see it thanks to the over-the-top ramblings of the likes of Alexander Walker, critic for the Evening Standard, who accuses it of Nazi-ism.

Yes, it is controversial, yet stick with it and Fight Club never condones the actions of its protagonists - opting, instead, to expose them as the ideas of a mad man by virtue of a breath-takingly original twist. And, without exception, the performances are spot on, with Pitt delivering a career-best performance and Norton cementing a fast growing reputation as one of the most exciting and controversial young actors of his generation.

Even Bonham Carter raises eyebrows with a blistering turn which becomes even more inspired upon second viewing. Indeed, this is a movie which demands repeat viewing (like The Sixth Sense) because of its clever twist ending.