FILM OF THE WEEK: Fight Club
ITV4, Friday March 21, 9pm
A sure sign of the lasting power of David Fincher’s Fight Club is that even when rendered as two minutes and 44 seconds of retro video game, it remains as radical as ever. It received the ultimate affirmation of its place in millennials’ affections when given the 8 Bit Cinema treatment this month by CineFix, a YouTube-based film fan collective that re-imagines movies as the blocky, pixelated fare that Nintendo pumped out in the 80s and 90s. 8 Bit Fight Club was their best effort yet, perfectly encapsulating the anarchic essence of Fincher’s film – including (at 2:20) the X-rated frame the Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden splices into children’s movies.
With all the hype that surrounds Fight Club, it’s easy to forget just how subversive it is. On its release, the conservative right-wing and sensationalist media decried it is senselessly violent. Its anti-capitalist theme upset Rupert Murdoch so much he ended up firing the head of 20th Century Fox, the Murdoch-owned studio that had financed it in the first place. But more than anything the film, like the Chuck Pahalniuk novel on which it’s based, is an expression of the overwhelming confusion that can develop amongst a materialistic, externally-directed society.
As Tyler Durden, the seductive ying to Edward Norton’s frustrated yang, Pitt gives possibly the most electric (and definitely the coolest) performance of his career. The Social Network aside, Fight Club may also be Fincher’s finest work to date. Be sure to watch, but as you do so from the comfort of your catalogue-bought sofa, remember: this is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time…
SET THE RECORDER FOR:
Film4, Saturday March 22, 12:50am
While comparisons to The Godfather are unhelpful, A Prophet is easily deserving of its place as one of the best received crime/prison dramas of recent times. BAFTA members clearly thought so, making it their overseas film of 2010, and it also picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film in the same year. Gritty in its portrayal of a young street hood’s rise to prominence without ever resorting to standard genre tropes, A Prophet is remarkably refreshing.
BBC Two, Saturday March 22, 4pm
While Psycho, Rear Window and Vertigo may be the Alfred Hitchock films that pop culture lauds the most, Notorious is the one that many true fans of the Master of Suspense will list as their favourite. The presence of screen legends Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, he a secret agent who recruits her to spy on a group of Nazis, gives it glamour, but the elegance of Hitchcock’s visual style is the real standout. Watch out for one of his most renowned shots, as the camera leaps over a bannister high above a party in full flow and embeds us within it, roving amongst its guests until it settles upon the smoldering Bergman.
Channel 4, Sunday March 23, 12:40am
With the five-Oscar-nominated Nebraska adding to an already impressive CV, Alexander Payne has cemented his place as one of the most distinctive directors currently active in Hollywood. Back in 1999, when still an up and comer, Payne took the high school comedy and used it to make an acute satire of US politics in Election. Pitting the naked ambition of Reece Witherspoon’s manipulative student campaigning for school president against Matthew Broderick as the teacher trying to thwart her, its barbed humour is deliciously cutting.