The Game

the game


One of the fundamental forces behind mystery films is the protagonist’s interpretation of reality. In order for the mystery to be solved, one must sift through the red herrings, the false clues and the lies in order to emerge with a glimmering shred of truth. The best suspense movies won’t be satisfied with allowing the audience to know more than the films main character. It is far more effective to engross the viewer by leaving a trail of proverbial breadcrumbs through a winding, twisting trail, than to simply give them the facts. David Fincher presents us with a masterful tale of intrigue and suspense that successfully grips the protagonist as well as the viewer in the aptly named film, The Game.

Michael Douglas is the quintessential “man who has everything”, and since the start of the film ushers in his birthday, the question is: what do you get him. That question naturally is answered through the course of the film when Nicholas Von Orton (Douglas) is presented by a “life changing gift” by his brother Conrad (Sean Penn). This gift comes in the form of an alternate reality game in which a company sets up an adventure that feels like real life. In essence it puts the participant in an extremely life like adventure scenarios that, seem to be, life threatening. And then things get complicated; the game begins and Douglas soon loses track of what is the game and what is real life as events escalate to ridiculous situations, begging the question: is this really a game?

I can think of no better actor to play Nicholas than Michael Douglas. He becomes the essence of rich, cold and angry in this film. He is, at the beginning of the film, a calm and composed individual, calculating in his actions and business decisions. When his flake of a younger brother comes into the picture things begin to change. The pacing of the film is certainly slower than might be expected from a thriller, however it allows the viewer to not only invest in the character and his surroundings, but it allows a fear to slowly grow. That fear that begins as seed and slowly blossoms into an uncanny concern for a fictional character, isn’t a fear of torture or a horrific monster, it is the fear of the unknown. Fincher delivers such a powerful mixture of emotions and suspenseful drama that even on a second viewing it holds up.

The Game gives adequate time to explore the different themes it brings up. As I mentioned before, reality is one of the biggest questions; for the majority of the movie no one seems to know what is reality and what is the game. However, what is apparent is the heightened sense of awareness that Nicholas feels after he is aware that the game has started. This is a man that has no time for anyone, but once he realizes that anyone could be a part of this game that becomes his life, he speaks to people he wouldn’t otherwise have acknowledged, he observes life changing situations and he is physically forced to endure hardships he’s only heard about. The game certainly is as life changing as his brother Conrad described, along with that change comes the fact that fiction and reality blend into a new realm where anything can happen.


Winner Announced

Congratulations to Ryan Partlow. He won a DVD of Vertigo. I’ll be doing more giveaways later on, so keep an eye out.

One comment on “The Game

  1. Ryan Partlow says:

    Sweet! I do like winning! … Oh, and good review. I have never watched this movie, but it has been recommended to me a lot. I will add it to the list.

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