Fight Club (1999): A cinematic masterpiece must see


Noah Dawley, Staff Writer

It’s been over two decades since David Fincher’s Fight Club had fans across the world ready to quit their jobs and join a boxing ring under a run-down bar. But what makes this movie so great? Why after 22 years is this movie still talked about amongst film fans?

To understand the art, we must first look at the artist. Fight Club is actually based on a book of the same name, written by Chuck Palahniuk, and released three years prior. David Fincher was then hired to produce a feature film, mainly because of his enthusiasm for the book. By this point, Fincher already had a couple of movies under his belt, most notably Se7en starring Brad Pitt in ‘95.

Fight Club follows our main character (played by Edward Norton) suffering from rapid insomnia. He ends up meeting  Soap Entrepreneur, Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), on a business flight. After a series of unfortunate circumstances, Norton moves in with Tyler in a run-down house near an abandoned paper factory. These two men, bored and sick of life, start an underground fight club where other men, like them, want to fill their boring 9-5 lives with a little bit of chaos.

Fight Club is overshadowed by the constant narration of Edward Norton, which gives us a look into the thought process of our main character. Every once in a while, his dark intruding thoughts are presented to the audience. This is accompanied by quick transitions to gritty scenarios that coincide with what he’s thinking. He struggles with separating what is reality and what is the fiction between his work life and his insomnia hallucinations.

One of the greatest aspects of Fight Club is the pacing. The movie is constantly jumping from scene to scene, which is enough to captivate the mind of any viewer, although, this has to be done in a certain way. We’ve seen movie after movie tries and fail at good pacing, rushing the plot, and only half-baking characters. The lead cinematographer for Fight Club is Jeff Cronenweth, who you might recognize from other beautifully shot David Fincher movies like The Social Network and Gone Girl. He does a perfect job at capturing the dark and grittiness of Fight Club and making exterior colors pop in the viewer’s eyes. This results in each scene having a dark undertone, yet still fitting the color scheme throughout the movie.  Each scene in Fight Club is fast, yet meaningful, you never feel like you are being fed filler just to extend the runtime.


From this point on, I’m going to discuss my favorite part of Fight Club, the plot twist. So, as I mentioned early, our main character suffers from hallucinations stemming from his insomnia. Throughout the movie, Tyler is a sign for everything is chaotic. Everything Tyler Durden does is things that our main character was too scared to do. Tyler’s personality is an embodiment of everything Norton wants to do, which is why it’s such a big surprise when it turns out that Tyler never existed.  Tyler was a part of our main character’s split personality, resulting from not sleeping. This is hinted throughout the movie with characters referring to him as Tyler, presumably by mistake, but not so much. So all the chaos Tyler started was actually Norton all along. Whenever Norton finally finds a way to sleep, whatever reason that may be, Tyler leaves on a brief hiatus before eventually making his way back after a couple of days. 

The last reveal I’m going to leave you with is probably the most confusing part of Fight Club, the main character’s name. Now you may have noticed that I haven’t said his name yet. I’ve called him “our main character” or “Edward Norton’s character” and that is because, even by the end of the movie, we do not know his name. He’s called everything from Cornelius, to Rupert, to Jack, and all sorts of other things. That’s why when the ending comes around Edward Norton is just credited as “The Narrator”. There’s debate amongst fans on whether or not his true name is ever shown like maybe his actual name is Jack or Cornelius, but nobody knows for sure. What we do know is that this is also resulting from his split personality disorder; he can barely tell what’s real and what’s fiction throughout the movie.

There’s still a big part of the movie I’ve left out thus far, and that’s the actual story and ending. This is because the actual plot of this movie is too long and convoluted to explain, plus I wouldn’t do it justice. You are just going to have to go and see for yourself. With all of that being said, this movie is absolutely perfect. Everything from the writing, directing, and cinematography, is so spot-on, which is why we come to the final part, my rating. 

Rating: an amazing 9.4/10 Paws 

And remember rule number one: you do not talk about the fight club