Celebrating Great Films

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Fight Club

Fight Club#32 at time of writing.

I think I am in an overly emotional mood.

I've just watched this film again and I'm hysterical. More than once, and especially at the end, I was laughing uncontrollably and even crying. Not in a funny way. In a nihilistic, abandoned, insane way.

This isn't a film, it's a kick up the ass.

Fight Club brings a dirty, aggressive dignity to the dark side of the male soul. The primal side that sometimes feels like biting someone's ear off just because you've had a bad day. The side that feels like life is just too much effort because everyone takes it so damn seriously. The side that fucking hates frilly cushions.

Chuck Palahniuk has created a Dice Man for the jaded Nineties. If you're not careful, it will make you reassess your priorities in life. And David Fincher has created a film that feels more like a manifesto for the revolution.

There's evidence that the actors and crew got into the spirit of the film while making it. According to the (unusually intelligent) DVD commentary, in the short scene when Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are drunk and hitting golf balls, they really are drunk, and the golf balls are sailing directly into the side of the catering truck.


Hero#143 at time of writing.

This is a phenomenally beautiful film. Yimou Zhang's use of colour and scale paints a masterpiece visualisation of Oriental legend. It is an ambitious epic, with all the melodrama, over-the-top chivalry and infinitely meticulous action scenes that you could hope for from the wuxia genre.

It is the most expensive Chinese film ever made, using an impressive 18000 extras and 300 horses, but it is never gratuitous. It uses special effects in innovative and restrained ways, creating strong visual interest from such mundane things as a falling raindrop or a slight breeze.

The fight scenes and set pieces are grand and poetic, more than making up for the occasional borderline cheesiness. And the story wraps up with a tantalisingly ambiguous moral message.

Watch this film on the largest possible screen, and prepare to be awed.