Fight Club

Fight Club

Every once in a while, I'll see a pretty good movie spoiled by one really bad scene. Fight Club is such a movie.

Edward Norton stars as an anonymous narrator who hates his job, his life, and the world around him. He is, in particular, profoundly angry and depressed by the rampant consumerism that surrounds him. Then he bumps into Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt, who else?), a handsome, smooth-talking, staunchly anti-consumerist soap salesman. After a brutal but invigorating fistfight between the two men, Durden invites the narrator to help him found a secret society called Fight Club, where guys pound the crap out of each other in warehouses.

Across the country, Fight Club quickly takes off with men who, like Norton, feel emasculated and insignificant. When Durden decides to take his anti-corporate, pro-violence message even further, by blowing up buildings, the narrator gets concerned. Then comes the Big Plot Twist. I won't reveal it here, because the film's entire storyline relies on it, but let me just say that I found it dumb, dumb, dumb.

I take it back: it's not that the twist itself is all that stupid - though it is sophomoric - it's that the delivery of the twist, in which the information is revealed to the narrator, is so lunkheaded and unimaginative. All I could think was, "Really? That's what this all comes down to... and that's how you're revealing it?" It took me right out of the film, and I couldn't care less what happened in the last act, even while Fincher and company (adapting a novel by Chuck Palahniuk) beat us over the head - Fight Club style! - with this twist, over and over, as if we somehow missed it the first time.

The film itself is remarkably well-made, with witty dialogue, nifty visuals, a first-rate cast, and an outstanding electronic score by The Dust Brothers. For a while, I could tap into Fight Club's righteous anger, and was actually rather impressed that a studio movie with such an anti-corporate message could have a wide theatrical release. But that idiotic plot twist literally ruined the entire film for me.