Fight Club is a 1999 American film directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter. It is based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. Norton plays the unnamed narrator, who is discontented with his white-collar job.
Palahniuk’s novel was optioned by Fox 2000 Pictures producer Laura Ziskin, who hired Jim Uhls to write the film adaptation. Fincher was selected because of his enthusiasm for the story. He developed the script with Uhls and sought screenwriting advice from the cast and others in the film industry. He and the cast compared the film to Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and The Graduate (1967), with a theme of conflict between Generation X and the value system of advertising.
Studio executives did not like the film, and they restructured Fincher’s intended marketing campaign to try to reduce anticipated losses. Fight Club failed to meet the studio’s expectations at the box office, and received polarised reactions from critics. It was cited as one of the most controversial and talked-about films of 1999. The film later found commercial success with its DVD release, establishing Fight Club as a cult classic and causing media to revisit the film. In 2009, on the tenth anniversary of the film’s release, The New York Times dubbed it the “defining cult movie of our time.”
The Narrator, an automobile recall specialist, is unfulfilled by his job and possessions and suffers from chronic insomnia. To cure this, he attends support groups, posing as a sufferer of diseases. His bliss is disturbed when another impostor, Marla Singer, begins attending the same groups. 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 his apartment and all his belongings have been destroyed by an explosion. Disheartened by his material loss, he calls Tyler and they meet at a bar. Tyler tells him he is trapped by consumerism. In the parking lot, he asks the Narrator to hit him, and they have a fistfight.