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DVDs I think you should own #11 – Fight Club


When Fight Club was originally released in the cinema in 1999 I deliberately avoided it. All of the promotional activity on TV for it portrayed it as a film about bare knuckle boxing starring pretty boy Pitt and frankly, it looked like a load of garbage. Then something strange happened. Lots of people I knew who liked films and whose taste I trusted started to tell me it was amazing. None of them seemed able to tell me why, but the song was the same. This film is awesome. You have to see it. Fast forward a year to its release on DVD (remember when you had to wait a year – sometimes longer – for something to come out on DVD?) and I decided to give it a go. Before the spectacular opening credits had finished I knew how wrong I had been. Thirty more seconds in any residual doubts I may have had evaporated. I don’t want to overstate the case, but it was mindblowing.

All of this was before I had really heard of and certainly before I had ever read, anything written by Chuck Palahniuk. Fight Club is an astoundingly accurate adaptation and Fincher’s film is exraordinarily well realised. Brad Pitt, Edward Norton even Helena Bonham Carter (who more often than not drives me to distraction) put in amazing performances.

What I thought was going to be a mindless action flick has incredible depth and a lot to say about people and the human condition. What appeared facile is actually quite profound. And what’s more it’s funny with it. A twisted, sick, black humour of the darkest kind I admit but that, if I’m being honest, is how I like it. It probably speaks more to my ignorance at the time than the film that I held it in such disregard initially, but my eyes were opened. It’s now one of my favourite films and definitely my favourite in the Fincher canon. It also taught me a valuable lesson – sometimes it’s important to lay aside your prejudices and take a chance on something.

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