Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Game

Movie Name: The Game
Year of Release: 1997
Director: David Fincher
Stars: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger, James Rebhorn, Peter Donat, Carroll Baker, Anna Katarina, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Elizabeth Dennehy
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

After the success of "Seven", director David Fincher tackled a script from John Brancato and Michael Ferris, who had achieved success in 1995 with Irwin Winkler's "The Net". The film follows the story of Nicholas Van Orton, a very successful businessman, who is about to have a birthday. His family life has had some very dark moments, and his younger brother Conrad, surprises Nicholas with a very unusual gift. The gift is an experience, a game, where Nicholas is put through a series of progressively more difficult challenges, and where nothing and no one is who they seem to be.
Following the dark and yet very successful "Seven", David Fincher had the opportunity to tackle a different type of script, and though today considered one of his lesser films, "The Game" is still an exquisitely fabricated feature, where the intelligence of the film maker is clearly visible. The subject matter adds consistency to what has become David Fincher's core leading character traits: characters that are flawed, usually scarred from a traumatic past experience, and who are involved in a situation that tests them yet again beyond their comfort zone, bringing out the survivor in them. That's the exemplary case of Michael Douglas' Nicholas Van Horton: a polished business man, who has lost contact with his inner emotional self, and who has alienated friends, family and who suddenly is pushed to the brink of fighting for his survival. The film smartly sequences and ties the events towards a crescendo that is in fact indelible and ingenious. The overall cast is fantastic, with special highlights going to the underrated Michael Douglas, but also the awesome Sean Penn, and the always enigmatic Deborah Kara Unger (then fresh off the critical acclaim of David Cronenberg's "Crash"). The cinematography from the late Harris Savides is stunning, as is the score from the great Howard Shore. A great gem from the tremendously talented David Fincher.