Cast: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf, Jared Leto
Oscar Nominations: Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing (Ren Klyce, Richard Hymns)
SUMMARY: The narrator (Edward Norton), who remains unnamed throughout the film, is a traveling auto company employee who suffers from severe insomnia. Rather than prescribing drugs, the doctor advises him to attend a support groups. The narrator soon becomes addicted to attending all types of support groups (including those for issues he doesn’t have). During these meetings, he notices a woman (Marla Singer, played by Helena Bonham Carter) who does the same thing. On one trip home from work, the narrator meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). After the narrator’s apartment is destroyed, the two men later meet up at a bar, and Tyler invites the narrator to stay with him. Outside the bar, Tyler asks the narrator to hit him, and the two are soon engaged in a fistfight (both are willing participants). They continue to do this for the next few days, and eventually move to a basement. Other men begin to show up, and the group forms a “fight club” where men can come to fight recreationally.
Tyler and Marla soon become involved, and Marla moves into the house with Tyler and the narrator. Tyler continues to develop the fight club, which eventually becomes a protest group called Project Mayhem. When the narrator tells Tyler than he wants to be more involved with Project Mayhem, Tyler disappears. After a Project Mayhem member is killed, the narrator tries to track down Tyler. In one city, a Project Mayhem member greets the narrator as Tyler Durden; Marla also apparently believes that the narrator is Tyler. Tyler suddenly appears in the narrator’s hotel room, and reveals that he and the narrator are actually dissociated personalities. The narrator then discovers that Tyler has made plans to blow up several buildings. He tries to disable the bombs, but is stopped by Tyler. Tyler holds the narrator at gunpoint, but the narrator realizes that if the two are sharing the same body, he is really holding the gun. The narrator shoots himself through the cheek without killing himself, but Tyler collapses with a wound in the back of his head; the narrator then stops projecting him. Project Mayhem members then deliver a kidnapped Marla to the narrator, and the watch the bombed buildings explode.
MY TAKE: Clearly, this is a guy’s movie. As a female, I totally do not understand the attraction of a fight club. I try really hard to avoid getting hit, actually. In the grand scheme of the movie, though, the fight club plays a pretty small role. It just serves as the starting point for Project Mayhem and the narrator’s relationship with Tyler, which become the real focal points of the movie. Parts of this were really confusing for me, especially with the whole Project Mayhem thing, but this makes more sense once you find out that the narrator and Tyler are really the same person (if the narrator’s crazy, it makes sense that the story’s a little odd). It seemed fitting that Helena Bonham Carter was in this movie, as a lot of her movies are a little bizarre.
RATING: Not my favorite.