Twenty-one years ago tonight, the film Fight Club premiered. I first saw it in a theatre outside Atlanta. When Helena Bonham Carter’s character said I haven’t been fucked like that since grade school, my friends and I are the only ones that laughed. I loved it and loved the soundtrack.
Directed by: David Fincher
Produced by: Art Linson, Ceán Chaffin, Ross Grayson Bell
Screenplay by: Jim Uhls
Based on: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Starring: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf Aday, Jared Leto
Music by: The Dust Brothers
Cinematography: Jeff Cronenweth
Edited by: James Haygood
Production company: Fox 2000 Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Linson Films
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release date: October 15, 1999
Running time: 139 minutes
Budget: $63 million
Box office: $100.9 million
The unnamed Narrator is an automobile recall specialist who is unfulfilled by his job and possessions. He finds catharsis by posing as a sufferer of testicular cancer and other afflictions in support groups, curing his insomnia. His bliss is disturbed by another impostor, Marla Singer. The two agree to split which groups they attend.
On a flight home from a business trip, the Narrator meets soap salesman Tyler Durden. The Narrator returns home to find that his apartment has been destroyed by an explosion. Deciding against asking Marla for help, he calls Tyler, and they meet at a bar. Tyler says the Narrator is beholden to consumerism. In the parking lot, he asks the Narrator to hit him, and they begin a fistfight.
The Narrator moves into Tyler’s home, a large dilapidated house in an industrial area. They have further fights outside the bar, which attract growing crowds of men. The fights move to the bar’s basement where the men form Fight Club, which routinely meets for the men to fight recreationally.
Marla overdoses on pills and telephones the Narrator for help; he ignores her, but Tyler goes to her apartment to save her. To the Narrator’s irritation, Tyler and Marla begin having loud sex at the house. Tyler warns the Narrator never to talk to Marla about him. The Narrator blackmails his boss for his company’s assets to support Fight Club and quits his job.
Fight clubs form across the country. Tyler recruits their members to a new anti-materialist and anti-corporate organization, Project Mayhem, without the Narrator’s involvement. The group engages in subversive acts of vandalism and violence, increasingly troubling the Narrator. After the Narrator complains that Tyler has excluded him, Tyler leaves the house. The Narrator realizes that Tyler caused the explosion at his apartment.
When a member of Project Mayhem, Robert Paulson, is killed by the police during a botched sabotage operation, the Narrator tries to halt the project. He follows a paper trail to cities Tyler has visited. In one city, a Project Mayhem member addresses the Narrator as “Mr. Durden.” Confused, the Narrator calls Marla and discovers that she also believes he is Tyler. Tyler appears in his hotel room and reveals that they are dissociated personalities in the same body; the Narrator assumed the personality of Tyler when he believed he was sleeping.
The Narrator blacks out. When he returns to the house, he uncovers Tyler’s plans to erase debt by destroying buildings that contain credit card records. He apologizes to Marla and warns her that she is in danger, but she is tired of his contradictory behavior. He tries to warn the police, but the officers are members of the Project. He attempts to disarm the explosives in one building, but Tyler subdues him albeit the surveillance cameras display that Tyler is absent and that The Narrator is actually hurting himself. With Durden holding him by gunpoint in the top floor, The Narrator realizes that, as he and Tyler are the same person, he is holding the gun. He fires it into his own mouth, shooting through his cheek, which causes Tyler to collapse since he thinks he is committing suicide. Project Mayhem members bring a kidnapped Marla to the building. Holding hands, the Narrator and Marla watch as the explosives detonate, collapsing buildings around them.