Admittedly, I watched half of this film through my fingers, because, maaan, it’s graphic. I know it’s all fake blood and makeup, but watching somebody pull out his own tooth is still distressing, and I’m sure David Fincher wanted us to feel this way.
Anyway, this is what I got from what I could watch…
The lighting or lack thereof is a major part of this film. Dark, moody scenes drowned in shadow is very typical of Fincher. Interestingly in Fight Club, these shots are juxtaposed against some brighter, clearer, well light shots.
Fincher is using the darkness to convey madness, contrasted with the bland clarity of his everyday life. But it’s not only the lighting, the colour has a massive effect too. We don’t see any colour unless Tyler is around. Even then the scenes are far from colourful, just highly saturated. It’s intense colour. Everything around Tyler is intense. There’s also this constant blue/green hue to the screen. Not only is this an unflattering tone for portraits, allowing the disfigured, battered faces to be more prominent, but it gives the film a definitive style. All this black and blue makes the screen appear constantly bruised, as are many of the character.
The camera work in this film is great. 99% of the time, the camera runs perfectly smoothly. Tracking something in one solid, strong action, or zooming in without the slightest wobble. This makes for a great effect when the camera isn’t so steady. There is a scene in the movie where the camera shakes violently whilst looking at Tyler.
It’s almost although he’s shaking with anger, or is it madness, or is Tyler trying to shake him from his own head?