Director: David Fincher
Year Released: 1999
Indisputably one of the most ambitious, ambiguous - and, to my mind, powerful - films of the 1990's, one that - like Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho - tackles the subject of alienation (brought on, in part, by the emptiness of consumer culture) and actually proves illuminating, its topicality aided further by the inventive direction by Fincher and three dynamic performances (Brad Pitt in a career-defining role as Id, Edward Norton as Ego and Helena Bonham-Carter somewhere in-between). The movie's 'twist' works as long as you're willing to play along (it's an allegory, duh) - credit scribe Jim Uhls for taking a device that was designed for the literary universe and translating it to the cinematic one - and its ending is still unapologetically disturbing as it envisions love amidst insanity and fin de siècle paranoia (and hey, what-do-you know: two years later, crumbling buildings would change public consciousness in the 21st century). I've always remarked that this movie is really about "the pain of being a man" (homosexual panic, aggression with no acceptable outlet, difficulty expressing emotion, feelings towards women that fluctuate wildly between love and hate, timeless frat boy mentality and the tendency to follow the herd, etcetera) only with tongue firmly in cheek ... but now, after several viewings, I'm starting to think I've always been onto something.