David Fincher’s Fight Club, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, is one of the director’s most challenging and iconic films with its mixture of satirical and thriller elements. The film followed Edward Norton playing an unnamed character who drifts about in a consumerist society, finding little meaning in his life. It’s only when he meets the mysterious and cool character of Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a soap salesman who is more than he may seem. While also forming a relationship with an aloof woman Marla Singer (Bonham Carter), Norton’s character comes to know the underground group of fight club, where men get out their aggressions and bear their souls. The further the central character pursues this lifestyle, however, the closer he comes to making a surprising discovery about himself and his mental state.
Fight Club was a genuine surprise for being both a stylish critique on society and featuring a shocking twist. It’s hard to top such a picture that takes the viewer on a wild ride of realizing self but a few have tried to hit that sublime sweet spot of critical theory in filmmaking. Check out these 10 films of a similar nature that are worth talking about.
Fincher’s other unique film about questioning societal norms is undoubtedly Gone Girl, based on the novel of the same title by Gillian Flynn. Teacher Nick Dunne thought he had the perfect suburban life for being married to his wife Amy Elliott Dunne. But one day Amy is not only missing but her blood is found in Nick’s home. Nick hasn’t murdered Amy but it sure does look to the public as though he committed the crime. As Nick tries to clear his name amid the media circus that crops up around him, Amy lavishes in her stunt to break out from her shell and pursue a dangerous life after committing the perfect crime. With a screenplay by Gillian Flynn herself, the award-nominated drama stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, and Kim Dickens.
Memento is one of the most perplexing of neo-noir thrillers for how the story is told backwards. Leonard is a man seeking vengeance as he follows a trail of clues to find the man who raped and murdered his wife. But this won’t be an easy investigation considering that Leonard suffers from a harsh form of memory loss. This leads him down a difficult road where Leonard struggles to not only remember all the clus but try to recall what just happened a few minutes ago. Written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Inception), this psychological detective story stars Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Joe Pantoliano.
David Fincher directed yet another twisty and intense thriller with the somewhat underrated The Game. The film follows the life of the wealthy banker Nicholas Van Orton who doesn’t much care to associate with anybody. His life changes, however, when he’s visited by his brother, Conrad, for his birthday. Seeking to spice up Nick’s life, Conrad gives him the gift of a real-life game that sounds intriguing. But as the game progresses, Nicholas finds things getting too personal and too dangerous. Trust dwindles as do his funds as Nick becomes increasingly desperate to find a way out of this chilling game. Written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris, this tricky thriller stars Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, James Rebhorn (Femme Fatale, The Net), Deborah Kara Unger, Peter Donat, Carroll Baker, and Armin Mueller-Stahl.
Michael Keaton plays an exceptionally meta character in the surreal backstage drama of Birdman. Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, an actor who was previously known in the 1990s for playing a superhero known as Birdman. He’s now seeking to reshape his image by starring in and directing a stage play of Raymond Carver’s short story, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. But he’s still haunted by his past as the Birdman character continues to creep into his mind, brewing cynicism and hopelessness inside the struggling middle-aged actor. His mental breakdown is making his production all the harder as technical issues and actor disputes bring chaos to the theater. Directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Amores Perros), this surreal dramedy additionally stars Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts.
The Usual Suspects
Keyser Soze is the key suspect being sought in an investigation of heists, explosions, and murder. He’s spoken of as one of the most legendary names in the crime world but is regarded more as a myth for having never been seen by law enforcement. His name comes up as detectives seek the truth behind a heist gone wrong where multiple men are involved with the robbery of millions and the destruction of property in a deadly fire. But Keyser may be closer than the authorities think as the robbers keep the detectives guessing in this psychological game of cat and mouse. Directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men) and written by Christopher McQuarrie (Mission: Impossible – Fallout), the film’s all-star ensemble cast includes Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, Pete Postlethwaite, Kevin Spacey, Suzy Amis, Benicio del Toro, and Giancarlo Esposito.
D-Fens was just a guy stuck in Los Angeles traffic who found himself pushed to the edge. Abandoning his car, he seeks revenge on the modern world after feeling as though America has turned its back on the white collar working man. D-Fens proceeds on a rampage where he destroys shops, blows up city streets, and threatens a fast-food joint with an automatic weapon. Pursuing him is Sergeant Prendergrast, a police officer who is one day away from retirement. He tries to unravel the case before D-Fens can cause more damage and kill more people in the wake of his wrath. Directed by Joel Schumacher (The Lost Boys), this intense critique of American society and the nature of the modern American man stars Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, Rachel Ticotin, and Frederic Forrest.
Jacob Singer is a veteran who has just returned from Vietnam and is finding it hard to adjust to civilian life in the United States. His sanity becomes increasingly fragile as he starts experiencing strange and horrific visions that haunt him in the form of hallucinations and flashbacks. The world becomes increasingly darker and people start to resemble anything but people in his distorted nightmares. Despite the efforts of those closest to him trying to help him adjust, nothing seems to take. The world only grows darker as Jacob continues to descend into madness with no hope of pulling himself out of the darkness. Directed by Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction) and written by Bruce Joel Rubin (Ghost), this psychological horror stars Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Matt Craven, and Danny Aiello.
The world of TV news is a ruthless career for those seeking the life of a cameraman on the scene of accidents and murders. Lou is a drifter who finds himself attracted to the thrill of such a job and decides to invest in a camera and a computer to become his own boss. He starts filming dangerous incidents across Los Angeles, often breaking the rules to find the most gruesome and horrific of shots. Though the news station he sells his footage to is pleased with his work, the police start questioning just how Lou is able to get such footage that he shouldn’t technically have been able to shoot. Not only does Lou conceal this information but he continues to probe into the dangerous world of crime, arriving at crime scenes before they happen to snag the most exclusive of camera footage. But how far can such rule-breaking man with a camera go when dealing in deadly situations? Directed by Dan Gilroy (Velvet Buzzsaw), this neo-noir thriller that comments on the media features a cast that includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, and Bill Paxton.
Based on the controversial novel by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho is an extra dark satire on the nature of yuppie culture. Patrick Bateman is a New York banker who seems to have everything perfect. His body, haircut, suits, and apartment are all of the highest quality as he prides himself in his greed. But that greed may be toying with his mind as he finds his thoughts lingering to darker and more violent urges that come about in private. But is he really killing people at his apartment or is it all a product of the imagination for living such a sterile life in the 1980s? Directed by Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol), this brooding mixture of black comedy and psychological thriller features a cast that includes the talents of Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Chloë Sevigny, Justin Theroux, and Reese Witherspoon.
How much would you be willing to do to make some extra cash? Would you take a bet? How about a bet where you had to severely hurt yourself? These are the questions asked in the dark comedy of Cheap Thrills, where friends Craig and Vince continue to up that ante on their absurd and dangerous betting. But how far is too far for such vulgarity in games of money and violence? Directed by E. L. Katz (The ABCs of Death 2), this intense combination of comedy and sadistic horror stars Pat Healy, Sara Paxton, Ethan Embry, and David Koechner.