The Game (1997)
Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) didn’t have a very good childhood. His father wasn’t there for him and died very early leaving Nicholas to look after his younger brother Conrad (Sean Penn). Now that Nicholas is all grown up, he has become the Scrooge of the banking world. He doesn’t do anything for fun and hardly ever smiles. When his birthday comes around, his brother gives him a “gift” of an interactive game that makes your life more interesting. Nicholas’s initial thought it to blow it off, but his curiosity allows him to check it out and it sparks a series of events that border on dangerous and insane. Is this part of the game? or is this a conspiracy? As Nicholas fears for his life, a mysterious woman named Christine (Deborah Kara Unger) constantly shows up and he can’t decide if he should trust or fear her, but sometimes he has no choice.
Directed by David Fincher (Seven, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Fight Club), The Game follows his signature style of grit, suspense and noir. There is something about this movie that gives an uneasy feeling from beginning to end. Maybe it is due to the idea that a grumpy investment banker is having to play a game that turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse, but the setting that Fincher creates is perfect. The character of Nicholas with his background is also well constructed. The man who has everything and wants nothing from anyone else has the roles reversed when it seems as though he has lost everything and must rely on others to help – even his ex-wife. I remember watching this for the first time as a teen, not knowing what it was, but thinking, “man this story is messed up but I can’t stop watching.” In the world of directing, I’d say David Fincher is in my top 5 and it’s due to the stories he tells and the atmosphere he creates is one of a kind. Just like Zodiac, another Fincher film, The Game is an under appreciated movie that needs more word-of-mouth. I don’t think I’ve met a person who loves movies and didn’t like The Game. A must see for any suspense fan! P.S. There is no gore or horror here in case you were wondering…
9/10 Stars – Oddly unsettling with plenty of suspense, thrills and moments that leave you 2nd guessing yourself!
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