Just Got done viewing David Finch's latest. A follow up to his modern day masterpieces SEVEN (****) and THE GAME(***1/2), the FIGHTCLUB from initial previews comes off as a movie about disillusioned yuppies beating the hell out of each other, a poor man's WWF. I had said a few weeks back that if anyone could make a movie out of such a ludicrous premise it would be David Finch.
From the first frame of this movie, I realize that I was correct. From the first frame David Finch cements his title as the most innovative, stylistic and brilliant director of our times. Creating from a seemingly simple minded premise a screaming, searing look at the very heart of anarchy and ennui. From frame to frame and word to word, you don't know what to expect from the fight club and by the time you do it's too late, you're hooked. Torn somewhere between moments of Cohen Brothers laugh out loud humor, and Shinya Tsukamoto levels of brutality and gore, this movie dances perfectly between both extremes. Finch is a director who likes playing with the viewers heads, challenging and pushing the limitations of film and our own perceptions of same.
The magic about Finch films is they are not one movie, they end up being subversive, multi-layered puzzles that lend themselves to multiple viewing, that demand multiple viewings, and leave us long after we have seen the movie, seeing it again with new eyes.
FIGHT CLUB lives up to the high bar of his other two films, and in terms of share inventiveness and technical proficiency surpasses both of them. The movie is masterfully directed with many innovative, brilliant shots, new ways of looking at old things. In his hands even a trashcan takes on Kubrickian levels of awe. His use of nearly subliminal images, ghost images, throughout the early portion of the movie is simply inspired, and quite effecting. He does what he sets out to do, he creates a movie that challenges what you know, and what you think you know.
But having said that I have to now answer the million dollar question. Is it as good as SEVEN? and the answer is no. While technically superior to SEVEN, SEVEN is still the better, more engrossing movie. SEVEN is a porterhose steak while FIGHT CLUB is a T-bone. FIGHT CLUB has a week part to it that keeps it from being better than the game, its the climax. It comes a good thirty minutes before the end of the flick, and leaves the remainder of the movie with a predictable and anti-climatic feel.
There comes a moment of revelation, it seems to be these intelligent scripts and moments of Revelation that mark David Finch's work. Seven gave us a moment of revelation, that was simply... glorious. The Game was not far behind. Giving us a moment of revelation that sent our mind reeling to catch up. In Fight CLUB the moment of revelation does not so much jump out at us, as it slowly crawls into our field of view. Where pretty much figured it out by the time the hook is pulled out. Still the ramifications leaves your head spinning, as you begin to mentally rewind the movie and see old scenes through new eyes. But from that moment the movie begins to lose steam as it becomes a slow ride to the conclusion.
All in all, an affecting piece of cinema. And highly recommended! ***1/2.