Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club is a fast 208 page read and perfect fodder for the ‘hero’s journey’ narrative structure preferred by Hollywood producers and the general film consuming public. Despite Palahniuk’s unorthodox prose, it was, for the most part, faithfully adapted by Jim Uhls for David Fincher’s 1999 film. As with any novel to film adaptation, there were a number of notable differences between page and screen. This includes a subtle shift in its overall tone; the novel’s nihilism is substituted for the audience friendly optimism of the film. During the final act, Project Mayhem’s ultimate goal changes from being purely selfish - erasing the past (destroying a museum), to being selfless and altruistic - erasing debt (destroying credit card companies). The protagonist was successful in achieving this goal in the film, and did so in one of the most iconic movie climaxes of all time. The novel, however, ended with Tyler’s bomb failing to detonate and the narrator committed to a mental institution.
|In the film, a messiah. In the novel, a|
Most of the changes made by Uhls and Fincher were justified, successful, and the reason for Fight Club’s ongoing notoriety more than 20 years after its release. Others, not so much. In keeping with Repeat Viewing’s purpose statement of pointlessly dissecting popular culture for the benefit of no-one, here is the best and worst of David Fincher’s Fight Club adaptation.