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I don't know where to start with this review. I really can't remember the last time I saw a film that impressed me as much as Fight Club. I'm also kicking myself for dismissing it at the cinema. I can clearly remember seeing the trailer, during a showing of something like The Matrix, and actually commenting on how bad it looked. Oh how wrong I was. Still, much of this can be attributed to that trailer and to the film's title. Fight Club. Doesn't sound like the most inspiring piece of cinema ever to come out of Hollywood, now does it? Fox have really gone to town with this release. This Special Edition features not one, but two discs packed full of content, with the second entirely devoted to special features.

Fight Club

Feature


The film centres on Ed Norton's character; the nameless narrator (although he is known as Jack in certain circles and for ease this is how I shall refer to him). Jack has a problem—he has insomnia. For six months he has been living his life in a state of limbo; never quite asleep, never quite awake. In an attempt to break this cycle he joins a self-help group for men with testicular cancer, an affliction he himself is not blighted with. Through this, and a myriad of other self-help groups, he is finally able find a release for his emotions and a cure for his insomnia. That is until another faker, Marla Singer, shows up. Jack feels Marla's presence reflects his own deception and pretty soon it’s back to sleepless nights.

It is about this time that he meets Tyler Durden, a charismatic soap salesman who believes that self-improvement is masturbation and self-destruction is where it’s at. Together, Jack and Tyler start ‘Fight Club’, a place where men can come together and beat the crap out of each other in cathartic bouts of violence. But as time goes on Jack feels more and more isolated from Tyler, who seems to have his own sinister agenda. What is Tyler really up to, and just what is ‘Project Mayhem’? The answers will have serious repercussions for both Jack and Marla, as the film hurtles towards one of the most unexpected cinematic twists since The Usual Suspects.

Both of the principal actors do a fine job with the material. Pitt is excellent as Tyler Durden, but his performance is overshadowed by Norton's superb effort. Not being the world's biggest Brad Pitt fan I was pleasantly surprised by how likable he was in this role. Ed Norton on the other hand blew me away in American History X, and I was expecting big things. He doesn't disappoint and delivers yet another brilliant performance. Helena Bonham Carter is also excellent as Marla Singer, a character that you will come to see in an entirely different light after multiple viewings of the film. The supporting cast all do a fine job, but special mention must go to Meat Loaf, who was fantastic as the castrated ex-bodybuilder Bob.

Fight Club

Video


Presented in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio, anamorphically enhanced of course, the THX certified print is outstanding. I didn't notice many image problems at all and the level of detail is fantastic. The film is takes place mostly in dark locales, but everything is still very clear. This really is reference quality stuff. One excellent addition to the disc is the inclusion of THX test signals, which enable you to properly set up your system for optimum viewing conditions. Tests for both audio and video are included and they really do make a difference.

Audio


As well as truly exceptional video quality, Fight Club delivers one of the best aural experiences I’ve yet to hear on DVD. The speakers are given a real workout, creating an incredible surround experience that really puts you in the centre of the action (just check out the title sequence for proof of that). The music of the Dust Brothers' sounds fantastic in glorious Dolby Digital 5.1. Also included on the disc are Dolby 2.0 Surround tracks in both English and French.

Extras


Disc one includes an amazing four commentaries: director David Fincher; Brad Pitt, Ed Norton, Helena Bonham Carter and Fincher again; writer Chuck Palahniuk and screenwriter Jim Uhls; production designer Alex McDowell, cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, costume manager Michael Kaplan, FX supervisor Kevin Haug and animator Doc Bailey.

The second disc contains the bulk of the supplemental material. Included are fourteen behind the scenes segments on production and visual effects, with alternative video and audio tracks, three theatrical trailers, twelve American TV spots, two European TV spots, three Spanish TV spots, two public service announcements (from Pitt & Norton), five Internet spots, a Dust Brothers music video, seven deleted/alternate scenes, massive photo galleries (with hundreds of production photos, effects stills, production artwork, storyboards, posters, lobby cards, press kits etc), an Ed Norton interview transcript, cast and crew bios and a booklet. Some of the deleted scenes feature multi-angle shots of the action, which are used to show the completed shot in comparison with the raw footage from the set. The special effects documentaries all feature voiceovers from the relevant people and make for interesting viewing. The public service announcements are worthy of special mention. Both are amusing, especially Pitt's useful little titbit of information.

Fight Club
Overall
As you may have noticed, I love this film and can't say enough good things about it. Perhaps it's because the film struck a chord, or perhaps it's because there's just so much content it's hard to get over the quality of this release in just a few words. Whatever the case, I watched Fight Club every night for two weeks from the day it landed on my doormat, and even now I notice something new and interesting every time I watch it. I really can't recommend this film highly enough; it's probably the closest I'm ever going to come to awarding a DVD package a perfect score and you simply have to buy it!


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