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Fight Club

Fight Club comes with enough extras to instantly render it one of the great DVD releases of all time. Packed into two discs are audio commentaries by David Fincher; Fincher with actors Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham-Carter; with cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, production designer Alex McDowell, costumer Michael Kaplan, and special effects whiz Kevin Haug; and novelist Chuck Palahniuk and screenwriter Jim Uhls. In addition to that, a second disc comes with trailers, cast and crew credits, alternative or deleted scenes with commentary, a short unnarrated documentary (which is more like a home movie, showing things like Meat Loaf running in place), TV spots, goofy theater PSAs, Internet spots, the (not particularly good) music video, six still galleries, the press kit, lobby cards, the transcript of an interview with Norton at Yale, and more. But is Fight Club worth all this special treatment? Yes. Fight Club is a comic masterpiece that shows us exactly how we live now. It taps into the stifled male rage many feel at the moral corruption of contemporary consumerist society. Showing linkages with other recent rebellion films such as Office Space and American Beauty, Fight Club is a gob of spit in the eye of American self-satisfaction. It is also a savvy tale about a smart woman who makes foolish choices. Bonham-Carter's Marla Singer, upon repeated viewing, emerges as the most interesting character in the film. Norton, an heir to Harry Langdon, is excellent as Jack at physical comedy, while Brad Pitt as Tyler is the quintessence of James Deanian cool. Fight Club is another Finchian exercise in uneasily allied duos fighting inplacable enemies. But unlike in his previous films, the enemy here is not an alien, a psychopath, or an entertainment institution, but society itself. Everyone in the commentaries emphasizes that Tyler is not the "answer" to the problems facing the Jacks of the world, attractive as Tylers may be. Latent within the movie is the notion that what Norton should do is just let it all go, not care; Tyler, he says, has a remarkable ability to let that which is not truly important simply slide (which echoes what the penguin says when Norton enters his secret cave: "Slide!"). But Fincher does not let this quasi-Zen attitude of detachment undermine his brilliant account of the way we live now. Widescreen (2.40:1), scene selection with moving images, DD 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Surround (in THX), closed captioned in English and Spanish. Folding paperboard digipack case, which is about the coolest DVD package ever.
—D.K. Holm

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