Has it really been 11 years since Fight Club came out in theaters? Back then, in the pre-dot-com bust days (before its inevitable rise again), I was a mere media pup writing up some of my very first online reviews. Looking back at my mid-twentysomething perspective on the film, I see I was more like a wordy college kid trying to get into grad school.
I guess I had a problem then with some of David Fincher's hyper-real tale of modern disaffection - or at least with the film's tricky third act. I did like the lead actors. As a whimpering yuppie turned Fight Club co-founder, Edward Norton manages to be a sympathetic everyman. As his balls-to-the-walls co-conspirator, Tyler Durden, Brad Pitt "attacks" one of his best roles to date. And for once, it was nice to see Helena Bonham Carter in something that wasn't a period piece.
It's funny how time mellows you out. A decade later, the film's crazy sense of logic and the "ah, $#@* it" ending works a lot better for me. I always knew the film was a dark comedy, but now, the graphic pummelings between prettyboys like Jared Leto and big boys like Meat Loaf aren't so tough to take (since it's a put-on anyways), and the humor and anarchy are perfect for a midnight screening where I'm already - on Day 58 - somewhat out of it...which adds nicely to the effect.
In '99, Mr. Norton noted that Fight Club could become The Graduate for Gen Next. Thankfully, or hopefully, we've dispensed with a lot of that generational crap, but he was right about one thing. The screening I and my buddies attended was sold out, with fans ready to re-live vicariously Fincher's pseudo-philosophizing about running free and giving the middle finger to the establishment. We may still buy IKEA, but at least for two and a half hours we can fantasize about knocking each other senseless into a higher state of being.
Currently, I rank Fight Club as my fourth favorite Fincher movie, right behind The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the awesomely underrated The Game, and the even more criminally underrecognized Zodiac. How about you?