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Fight Club

The best fat for making soap comes from humans. 

Year: 1999 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by David Fincher 
Starring: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter  
An image from Fight Club

I'm going to break the first rule of David Fincher's 1999 cult classic Fight Club and talk about it.

The Narrator (Edward Norton) takes us through his life as a jaded insomniac who's looking for a little bit of adventure. He finds this adventure in Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a reckless soap manufacturer, and together they create an underground fight club for bored businessmen. Their fight club is just the beginning; the Narrator becomes surrounded by a cast of strange and dissolute people, who all look to him for direction. Soon, fight clubs begin popping up in other towns and members start to channel their anger together as a sort of revolution which spirals out of control.

David Fincher has a reputation for creating dark thrillers that can be sickly comical, and Fight Club is just that. With the combination of the striking cinematography, a powerful soundtrack and outstanding performances, Fight Club takes you right into the subconscious of the Narrator and his world. Much more than an action flick, it explores everything from consumerism and mentality to how to start a fight with a stranger. You’ll meet the Narrator at a very strange time in his life and it’s definitely worth taking the journey with him.

Tanika Patel

Fincher (The Game, Se7en) delivers a darkly comic film starring Norton (American History X, The Italian Job) as the depressed pencil-pusher Narrator, whose only release comes from attending terminal disease support group meetings every night and maxing out his credit cards on decking his apartment with Ikea furniture.  Nothing makes him feel more alive than seeing dying people weeping on each other, and nothing cures his insomnia better.  Life continues in this dreary way until he meets Tyler (Pitt) on a business flight; a charming and amoral soap seller.  Tyler challenges him to a friendly fight, believing that there is much to be learnt from pain.  Our narrator gets a real adrenaline rush from the fight and feels more alive than he has in years.  They agree to meet once a week to fight and over time more men become involved in what becomes a closely guarded secret underground sensation.   The Fight Club is born (First rule: Don't talk about Fight Club. Second rule: Don't talk about Fight Club).  Things are made more complicated when both men fall for Marla (Bonham-Carter) who was also crashing the support-group meetings and there is the mother of all twists to look forward to.

This is an amazing film, mystifyingly not getting the reception it should have when released, but growing ever more popular over the years.  The actors are on fine form.  Norton, being hailed as the new De Niro is fantastic as the lead, with Bonham-Carter putting in an edgy performance and Pitt excellent as always.  The script is sharp and funny, with many memorable gems, particularly in our Narrator's voice overs.  Offering a wry and scorching insight into the world of business, the male psyche and life in general, this film not only offers great acting, stylish direction and a brilliant script, but a chance to think, really think.

If like so many others you first fell in love with this film on video or DVD you must, must, must see it on the big screen.  And if you have never seen it before, then you are in for a real treat.

Hannah Upton

Brad Pitt (Se7en, sleepers, Interview with a vampire) plays Tyler Durden, a rebel against society and culture, who manufactures soap, lives alone and is trying to make sense of his life, using senseless violence to do it.

Edward Norton (American History X) plays an unnamed insomniac bored with his everyday 9-5 office job, looking for bizarre excitement, kicks and thrills. He starts off by attending support groups for people with terminal diseases, but his is not enough for him, and he needs more to sate is desire for the extreme.

When he meets Durden, the two form the fight-club; the rules of the fight-club are no shirt, no shoes. Apart from that it's �a no holds bared� basement brawl for the 9-5 types to get some adrenaline pumping by knocking the seven bells out of each other over the weekend.

This need for adrenaline escalates, as does the desire to rebel against the system, so the fight club turns to crime and a spree of destruction, looting and pillaging ensues.

Soon Norton's character finds he is in too deep and must do all he can to bring Durden's reign of rampant vandalism to a close.

This film is by the team that gave us the mind-blowing se7en, and it doesn't disappoint. It makes the viewer confront the evils within and question their place in the scheme of things - as well as having some excellent fight scenes and explosions! Also of note is the thumping soundtrack by the dust brothers, which is the icing on the cake of soap that is the fight club. An excellent film that has to be fully seen to be understood.

Patrick Dean

A heated, brutal, testosterone-saturated comic fable on consumer culture and the reality of personal freedom, it's a film that dares to question American values in the most inventive ways.

Directed by David Fincher, a filmmaker with no reluctance in putting his audience on constant edge, it's an adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's controversial book about infuriated "nine-to-fivers" releasing their aggravation, anger and worries through a network of underground cults that advocate the most savage male instincts�the desire to fight someone�

Edward Norton stars as the film's self-destructive and deliberately unnamed narrator. The ultimate American corporate stooge, Norton is on the fast path to a nervous breakdown. He has begun to habitually attend random support group meetings (melanoma one night, testicular cancer the next), just so he can unload his every constrained emotions on the shoulder of someone who will listen. However when he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), his entire life is turned upside down and he begins to discover new outlets for what has become all-purpose rage. A compelling, revolutionary and psychotic film, Durden flourishes on anarchy and insolence of civilization. He's rebellious in any way he can devise, for instance, working as a projectionist at a movie theatre where he splices single frames of pornography into children's movies. Together they discover a new, excessively primal release for their mutual cultural fatigue, frequent, zealous, vehemence-fueled fist-fighting.

The story of "Fight Club" lends itself to inventiveness, and Fincher delivers with an amped-up look and pounding atmosphere, driven by a rave-style Dust Brothers soundtrack and brilliantly illustrative photography. The director also scores near matchless performances from his stars. Norton's entire being seems consumed with the darkest innate feelings of personal expatriatism, as if he were trying frantically to split in two to escape himself.

Roshni Patel

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Screenings of this film:

1999/2000 Spring Term (35mm)
1999/2000 Spring Term (35mm)
1999/2000 Spring Term (35mm)
1999/2000 Spring Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Spring Term (35mm)
2013/2014 Spring Term (35mm)
2013/2014 Spring Term (35mm)
2016/2017 Autumn Term (35mm)
2020/2021 Autumn Term (35mm)
2020/2021 Autumn Term (35mm)
2020/2021 Autumn Term (35mm)
2020/2021 Autumn Term (35mm)
2023/2024 Spring Term (35mm)