The Game (1997)

Here’s another review from my past, and it’s weird that with this blog I’m kind of in the same place that I was back then.  Enjoy!

Lately I’ve been watching so many good to great movies that I’ve begun to worry that any reviewing reputation I might have been developing was being tarnished by giving out all these high ratings. Which has then caused me to become overly snarky in my review writing and also started to make me somewhat disenchanted with the review writing process. If my opinions are just going to be viewed casually and then immediately dismissed because I give out a lot of high ratings, well what’s the point of me sitting down to give my perspective on a certain film. Then I feel the need to repeat myself over and over again, stating that since I don’t get paid to watch movies and write reviews on them, I tend to only watch movies that I want to see or have free access to. I’ve weeded out a lot of the crap that was in my movie library, leaving mostly quality films and a few decent guilty pleasures, which means that most of my reviews are going to trend towards the positive spectrum and I don’t know why I’m spending most of this review defending my stance when you just want to read about David Fincher’s second awesome movie.

For those of you that have never watched The Game, allow me this moment to give you a little background information, a synopsis if you will. Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is a wealthy financier, living a life devoted to making money and becoming more and more dead inside as a result. Pretty much like Ebeneezer Scrooge. His ne’er do well brother Conrad (Sean Penn) purchases a gift invitation to a high class gaming company for Nicholas’ upcoming birthday, with the promise that it’s exactly what Nicholas needs, whatever that means. At first Nicholas is dismissive of the gaming invite, until he finds himself in the same building as the offices for the gaming company are located and decides to try it out on the spur of the moment.

What Nicholas ends up signing up for is one of the most intricately planned out and intense “games” ever devised. It would be spoilerrendous for me to go into greater detail about all the twists and turns the game takes while completely taking over Nicholas’ life and making him question absolutely everything that he thinks he knows. That right there is the bare minimum of what you need to know about the plot of the film and if it doesn’t awaken a desire in you to check this movie out, then I simply must reiterate that it is directed by David Fincher. If Fincher has proven anything with the films he’s directed, it’s that he’s a masterly suspenseful storyteller of a director that always delivers the goods in an edge-of-the-seat fashion. I just crammed a bunch of clichéd movie review quotes into that sentence, in case you didn’t notice.

The only way a highly suspenseful thriller of a movie can succeed is if there’s a heightened sense of confusion and a high threat level. Oh, and the actors involved have to be completely believable in their performances, not in a sly, winking type manner. More of a Blair Witch Project-type level of believability if you can get it. With Michael Douglas and Sean Penn as the de facto leads, you know what you’re going to get from their performances so you better be sure to surround them with a high-quality supporting cast. Thankfully, Deborah Kara Unger and James Rebhorn (one of cinema’s most famous “That Guys”) are perfectly suited for the many levels their performances required.

If there’s one thing about the movie that I just didn’t find believable, it was the all-encompassing overwhelmingness of the game itself. I found it somewhat difficult to swallow that a company would be able to completely take over one person’s life so effortlessly and so completely. Thankfully, I have a bit of a conspiracy theorist mentality in me and I was able to suspend my disbelief for two thrillingly tense hours. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, though it’s rewatchability factor isn’t that high because of how plot twisty it can be at times. You can only suspend your disbelief so much until it becomes laughable.

4 / 5

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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