This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Ethan’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Well, David Fincher has done it again... which is an odd thing to say when this is the earliest-released Fincher film I've seen, and I've only watched three so far. From what I can tell, this is my favorite Fincher film by far. It's a great critique on toxic masculinity(I bet you've all heard that before) and of the struggles of that specific generation this film is geared towards. In a society where men feel repressed because they're held back by norms, they lash out in violent ways — starting fights with random people and even committing intricate acts of crime because it's the only way they feel they can express their masculinity.
Full disclosure, I cannot understand how some people idolize Tyler Durden and say he's "cool" when the movie blatantly shows him as a deranged schizophrenic. I get that he's presented as an everyman and people are supposed to relate to him to a way, but I'd like all the guys to keep in mind that he's still an asshole, and it was still him who was Tyler Durden. That being said, the twist has to be one of the best executed in a film I've seen in a while. It's genius how Fincher gave us fleeting one-second glimpses of Durden before Ed Norton's character met him, to suggest that Durden was a part of his own imagination(and, of course, there's Brad Pitt's Durden's hobby of slipping in one-second segments of porn in between kid movies as a hint). From the first lines of the film suggesting they are one and the same("[...] those buildings will be reduced to smoldering rubble. I know this because Tyler knows this.”) to Marla's attitude towards Ed Norton's character when he treats her as if Tyler is another person, the film cleverly laid out the clues and I was able to get an inkling of the truth. That said, the twist was still bloody brilliant.
Fincher has a way with his camera that gives him his own unique aesthetic. I can't explain it, I guess the most similar case I've seen is Park Chan-wook's Oldboy — he uses CGI naturally and therefore achieves almost impossible shots. Fight Club is that sort of movie that shouldn't have been shot monotonously; thankfully, it wasn't. To go with great direction and camerawork, we have the performances from Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. Brad Pitt was so damn charming throughout two-thirds of the film that I almost couldn't buy into the fact that he was a bad guy, but he convinced me well enough that his Tyler Durden is the perfect movie villain. Norton was just as great, wasting no effort in showing the real Tyler Durden and his descent into depravity and madness as he seeks a new meaning through violence. Helena Bonham Carter brought something special to Marla, and therefore a character that could have been easily forgotten in the midst of the two Durdens was able to shine just as bright.
This was such a great film, not only because of its intricate meanings and portrayals of real-life issues, but also because it was just so fun to watch. It seems 'fun and deep at the same time' is David Fincher's films in a nutshell.