I can remember being completely blown away by 'Fight Club' the first time I saw it. It's not the film it's billed as - if it was, it would boil down to little more than nigh-on two-and-a-half hours of Brad Pitt and Edward Norton beating the living snot out of each other. That's not to say it has nothing to do with fighting. Hell, I struggle to think of ANY movie that depicts underground bare-knuckle punch-ups quite as graphically as this one (and yes, that includes 'Every Which Way But Loose'). But it's also about much, much more than that.
Norton - whose character's name is kept from us for reasons that don't become apparent until the climax - plays a seemingly average everyday schmo whose materialistic love of all things Ikea can't cover-up for the fact that a gaping chasm exists in his life. Slightly weirdly, his only pleasure comes from regular visits to various touchy-feely support groups (where he meets, among others, a bitch-titted Meat Loaf). But it's only when he meets the rugged and confident Tyler Durden (Pitt) that his life suddenly begins to take on a sense of purpose.
Before long the pair are squatting in the same dilapidated mansion and, more importantly, have caused something of a stir among the local male population with their formation of the club of the title. Blokes come from miles around to join in the man-on-man batterings, and it starts to look like our two lead characters have built themselves something of an army.
Performance-wise, this represents the highlight of Pitt's career, and is the film that finally saw him arrive as a "proper" actor, rather than just a pretty boy fancied by all the girlies. Norton, of course, is always terrific, and has a couple of fantastic darkly-comical scenes in which it's himself he's beating up - which really doesn't look all that easy.