Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, ...

Say what you will about ”Fight Club” the movie, but Fight Club: The Special Edition DVD (1999, Twentieth Century Fox, 139 mins., R, $34.98) is a bare-fisted right uppercut that knocks other DVD contenders out of the ring. As special features go, they don’t get better than this. Even if you thought this paranoid thriller about an underground fist-fighting society was too violent or simply too weird, the bonus material stands on its own as compelling entertainment. Dive in anywhere and discover something fascinating.

Click: Helena Bonham Carter and Brad Pitt describe the frenzied sex scene in which their characters — a charismatic cult leader and a jaded party girl — appear to whirl above their bed. ”It demanded Brad and me taking positions in the Kama Sutra for about 12 hours,” Bonham Carter says, adding ”those aren’t my breasts. I wish they were.” From Pitt: ”I loved throwing Helena around.”

Click: Director David Fincher walks through the same sequence, displaying the storyboards and computer generated models that helped to create the effect he wanted. As he puts it, ”I wanted it to look like one of the statues of Mt. Rushmore f—ing the Statue of Liberty.”

Click: In a fight scene that ran afoul of the motion picture ratings board, Edward Norton, playing a bored office worker turned barroom brawler, brutalizes an opponent. Compare Fincher’s edit against the scene as it was in theatrical release version — a spectacle that’s even more disturbingly intense for the way the camera focuses on the violent crowd reactions.

Click: In a behind the scenes documentary, Pitt shows off his newfound boxing skills.

Click: A remarkably buff Pitt is covered with white plaster for a body mold.

Click: A controversial bit of dialogue, ultimately cut, in which Bonham Carter tells Pitt, ”I want to have your abortion.” The line that replaced it is just as harsh. ”My God!” her character says, ”I haven’t been f—ed like that since grade school.” (The actress admits she didn’t know what the line meant, since ”grade school” doesn’t exist back home in England.)
ADDITIONAL SPECIAL FEATURES All told, there are 17 behind the scenes vignettes with multiple angles and commentary, fascinating outtakes, deleted scenes, storyboards, four separate commentary voiceover tracks, concept art and a gallery of the film’s publicity materials. In short, a heavyweight champ.
DVD Special Features A+

Fight Club
  • Movie
  • R
  • 139 minutes
  • David Fincher