Before the puerile, drawn-out whimsy of Benjamin Button, David Fincher’s reputation as a peerless purveyor of stylish angst and mood was typified in his early triptych of groundbreaking thrillers of which 1999’s Fight Club was considered by many the pièce de résistance of his career. Based closely on Chuck Palahniuk’s apocryphal novel, the film considers the crass commercialism and corporatization of ’90s era America, and bends it around on itself. Our protagonist is a nameless “narrator” (Edward Norton) whose lament for his own soul, amidst the dissonant philosophy of the reckless Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), pushes them to create underground battlegrounds, where men bare-knuckle fight other men senseless and all in the name of manhood and a refutation of the soft, pink-belly underpinnings of the materialist society coddling them aboveground. That the film’s anti-corporate screed leads the Narrator and Durden to the sickeningly similar action of Bin Laden two years hence should not detract from the film’s core message, given at a time of unprecedented wealth, privilege and soulful dissonance. Fincher’s film, visually intoxicating and luxuriant in its ability to entice us, twists the medium and message so artfully, you don’t even realize how taken in by it you are until the end, when Fincher intentionally breaks the spell just in time for the apocalyptic climax.
This long-awaited Blu-ray tenth anniversary edition finally gives the film an appropriately glorious transfer, crystal clear and beautifully rendered. There are a host of special extras, including multiple making of documentaries, commentaries by Fincher, Pitt, Norton and others; deleted scenes; a raft of TV spots; and a full interview with Norton.
Piers Marchant is a Philly-based writer and editor, and the EIC (and film critic) for two.one.five magazine (215mag.com). His reviews can be found on 215mag.com and his tumblr blog, Sweet Smell of Success. You can also follow him on twitter @kafkaesque83.