when it opened in the U.S to tepid business, there was widespread misjudgement that it was another testosterone-fuelled man-flick about bare-knuckle fighting. don't make this mistake. those who had read Palahniuk's corrosive social satire knew exactly what to expect. the film begins in the Medula Oblongata of the brain and explores every corrupt brain cell of today's culture. nobody is safe - Starbucks, Ikea and their children, which pretty much encompasses most of the developed world's inhabitants, the corporations, the small businesses, educated and uneducated. the main theme is the crisis of middle-class masculinity and is set in an anonymous city, much like Seven, and is a world of oppressive conformity where nobody has the power or will to break away, least of all Ed Norton's lead character. Norton plays an unconsuming drone (in the same vein of Anthony Perkins' Norman Bates in Psycho)and Brad Pitt, the enlightened anti-social (or perhaps anti-society) Tyler Durden. The cast is flawless, with Jared Leto playing a role with more importance than is realised, as Angel Face and Helena Bonham Carter sheds her corset for a female role to die for, displaying all the nihilism and apathy that the film requires. like Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho, this book was also deemed unfilmable but Fincher's ability behind the camera trashes another dictionary entry. the film ends on as much of an ambiguous point as it can muster, because in the world portrayed on film, nothing can be taken for what it really is. after this, it seems impossible to go back to your ordinary job and your ordinary life and indeed, ordinary films.