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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
A Movie Knockout
by Betty Jo Tucker

If there’s such a thing as an unreviewable movie, Fight Club is the one. It’s probably impossible for a critic to do justice to this provocative dark comedy about testosterone run amok. But here goes anyway.

Speaking the funniest lines heard in any movie this year, the film’s narrator (Edward Norton) entices viewers into his boring workday world and pitiful after-hours adventures as a support group addict. This painfully insecure fellow even feels threatened when a quirky woman (Helena Bonham Carter) begins to exploit the self-help meetings he thinks belong only to him.

Then, all at once, Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) bursts into the narrator’s dull life. He is handsome, confident, daring, wild, and mean as sin -- the exact opposite of Norton’s character. The two form a very different kind of support group for men. It involves secretly inflicting and suffering as much bodily damage as possible through one-on-one fighting. (WARNING: these brutal scenes show excessive blood and gore.) Only after his friend escalates the violence in what he calls Project Mayhem does Norton try to stop him.

Although Pitt’s acting brilliance comes through loud and clear in his most unsympathetic role to date, Fight Club belongs to Norton. His droll narration, complex emotional changes, and complete believability throughout make him a good bet for another Oscar nomination. (Editor's note: Norton wasn't nominated, much to my dismay.) He already has two others -- for American History X and Primal Fear.

To tell much more about Fight Club runs the risk of spoiling this riveting film for people who haven’t seen it yet. Just be prepared for a knockout surprise ending. It’s a brain teaser that remains with you long after leaving the theater. Kudos to David Fincher (Seven) for his inspired direction of this disturbing, satirical masterpiece.

(Released by Fox 2000 Pictures/Regency Enterprises and rated “R” for strong language, sexuality, nudity, and graphic depiction of violent anti-social behavior.)

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