DOWSE guide to the movies                                                                                         

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the net guide for creative minds


DOWSE Guide to the Movies
by Tony Lee editor of Pigasus Press

Fight Club

directed by David Fincher
139 minutes (18)

An impressive cast in this, what will surely become cult classic.
Brad Pitt revels in his slick role as the carefree but highly motivated Tyler Durden, soap maker to the rich and famous. Edward Norton shines as the discontented insomniac, Jack, who sees no value in his work or home life, consoling himself at first by purchasing modern furnishings for his apartment, and then by attending group classes for the terminally ill. It's at the group that he meets another "fraud", Marla Stringer, played by Helena Bonham Carter. She is what I can only describe as the token female of the movie; a thoroughly distasteful character that provides the sex, and attempts to show the film is not homosexual in nature.
Norton's narration leads us to the formation of an actual fight-club whose popularity grows at an amazing level, sprouting clubs all around the country, any male at a loss with his life, all too willing to have his face smashed in, or to do this to others. Durden's philosophy punctuates the storyline, his message is of self-destruction.
At first this philosophy, if not ideology, is easy to mistake for some kind of underground fascist movement, that director David Fincher is either stirring up fascist sympathy feelings, or perhaps warning us of the possibility of such a movement starting in our modern capitalist society. As the climax of the movie spins along, the profound truth of the message this film carries becomes clear to those who wish to see. It is in a way similar in content to American Beauty in that it is showing us that we can reinvent ourselves if we want it enough. That we don't have to accept things the way they are, we do not have to be afraid all the time, it is about saying I don't care what happens, I can handle it.
The society shown in the film is symbolic to the mess the individual can find himself or herself in, so the message is not insurgence, but change in oneself. If enough individuals change, then society will change.

Matthew McKeown

Fight Club
Director: David Fincher
134 mins (18) Fox rental

A film of the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club is a heavy film, dealing with heavy, difficult and important ideas, in a heavy, literally-in-your face way. An even more controversial release than Fincher's previous effort, Se7en, Fight Club has drawn considerable criticism from a media all-too-eager to blame fictional violence for real injury. Indeed, in October 1999, a teenage boy from Auburn, Washington was listed as being in a serious condition after he and friends recreated one of Fight Club's ultra-violent meetings.
   This review is not the place, however, to debate the existence of a link between violence on the screen, and violence on the street. What's for sure is that Fight Club is an uncompromising, brutal, and utterly fascinating study of modern men and modern man's fears. It is about futility, about the hollow shell of modern life, about the terrifying potential for the mainstream return of Fascism. Seemingly a study of homoeroticism (a bit of a favourite subject for Brad Pitt, now, following the evident echoes of Interview With The Vampire), Fight Club is actually more about narcissism and its flipside. It's also about soap.
   If you're watching it right, Fight Club should mess with your head. It should make you ask questions about yourself and about modern society. It may, if you are so inclined, depress you. It may even offend you - but if it does, ask yourself why it offends…is it because it's simply too real? And if you watch it to enjoy the exceptionally realistic fistfights, you've missed the point entirely, and should seek psychiatric help immediately.
   Fight Club is an astonishing film. The script is superb, as is Fincher's direction, as is the acting and the photography. But it's also a difficult and intensely dark experience. It's a heavy film. Oh yes, one final thing: Meatloaf has breasts in it. No kidding.

Mark Roberts

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