The Game (1997)

TheGame_poster323

Genre: Thriller

Cast: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn

Genre: A wealthy, lonely and totally Republican investment banker is given a voucher on his 48th birthday for a game that integrates with his life. However, shit hits the fan when he begins to suspect an elaborate conspiracy.

This is one of those films that I never knew existed. The Game was not even a blip on my movie radar, despite it having been directed by David Fincher who I do like a lot. However, I came across this movie when browsing through Netflix and I was enticed by the opportunity to watch something that I had never seen or heard about before. After watching it, I can say that the experience was underwhelming. The movie was not bad by any means but it wasn’t particularly good either. It was kind of a “paint by numbers” thriller that didn’t offer much in the way of innovation and there were a few points about the film which really got on my tits.

Firstly, is there really anyone out there who is THAT rich? I mean, Michael Douglas’s character is an investment banker so he clearly has the green but, even then, why would he live alone in a ginormous mansion and spend all that money on the mansion’s upkeep? Also, is his only form of human contact his maid!? Is there anyone out there who actually lives like this? It’s so depressing and it doesn’t really make the audience empathise with Michael Douglas’s character, probably because of the whole “austerity” thing. I’m so poor now that the instant I see an investment banker I just want to throw my shoe at them and scream: “THAT’S FOR RUINING THE ECONOMY………CUNT!” Picking a movie with a super-rich investment banker as the main character was maybe not the best choice.

Another problem I had with the movie was that it tries really hard to be Hitchcockian film and there are certain scenes which evoke a sense of Hitchcock’s work especially Vertigo, although the fact that the film was set in San Francisco may have something to do with that. However, Fincher never really pulls it off because the film’s progression is all rather predictable. At no point in the movie was there an “Oh shit! What is going on?” moment. Instead, the audience is forced to watch a (rather boring character) go from A to B and then to C and so forth. The only WTF moment came when he shows up at his mansion (bastard) and there is a clown doll sat in the driveway. He made the mistake of bringing the clown doll into his house. I would have burned that fucker to purify of it of its natural evil…just like Nick Cage in the Wicker Man.

If you can get past the evils of investment banking and the predictability, then there are some things in The Game that you might enjoy, Sean Penn for example. I love Sean Penn but I am sad that I can never look at him in a movie without thinking of Harvey Milk. His acting credibility has taken a hit because of his natural brilliance. Another great point in this movie is the use of ‘White Rabbit’ by Jefferson Airplane which is a great song to listen to when you’re high. I appreciated that song usage very much.

It was also a lot of fun thinking about what my game/vacation would be. I hope somebody invents this game/vacation thing soon. If it’s you who invents it then please make it a little more exciting and, for the love of God, no fucking clown dolls!

High-lights:

  • Beautiful San Francisco. It’s hard to make that city look ugly….even with all the human feces on the sidewalk.
  • Chasing white rabbits.
  • The scene where the guy runs out of toilet paper is hilarious and harrowing at the same time because it’s my worst fear.

Downers:

  • That guy is sickeningly rich.
  • Dull and uneventful.
  • Being in a car that crashes into the San Francisco Bay is my worst fear….there could be sharks in there…ACTUAL sharks.
  • AAAAHHHH SCARY CLOWN DOLL! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!

Summary:

The Game is a largely forgettable film and I can see why I had never heard of it before. Definitely not one of Fincher’s greatest films. If you want a cerebral thriller set in San Francisco, stick to Vertigo.

5/10

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3 Comments

Filed under Meh, Thriller

3 responses to “The Game (1997)

  1. davecrewe

    On the whole this film has a tonne of flaws, but I still like a lot. Mostly it just captures that sense of dizzying bewilderment when the carpet is pulled from your feet with an excellent execution of noir style. The main thing I remember about this film is the scene in the hospital car park, which is just beautifully isolated and creepy and dark.

  2. Abbi

    I think I might have seen this when it came out. The clown bit sounds familiar. But what I really wanted to say was that this made my day: “I’m so poor now that the instant I see an investment banker I just want to throw my shoe at them and scream: “THAT’S FOR RUINING THE ECONOMY………CUNT!”

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