3341. The Game (1997)

7.9 Brilliantly frustrating
  • Acting 8.0
  • Directing 8.0
  • Story 7.8
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Starring: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger

Director: David Fincher

Running Time: 128 mins

The Game is an American film about a wealthy investment banker who receives a mysterious birthday president from his brother, which gives him the chance to take part in an experiential game that soon tears his life apart.

A truly maddening, mind-bending thriller throughout, The Game is a masterpiece of brilliantly frustrating screenwriting. Complete with a fantastic lead performance from Michael Douglas and striking direction from David Fincher, this is a genuinely thrilling watch from start to finish.

One of the great things about The Game is that, while it’s a bit of a slow-burner, it’s a film that has you firmly in the palm of its hand from the very start. With an ominous atmosphere surrounding Michael Douglas’ unfeeling investment banker from the first scene, David Fincher stamps his distinctive mark on The Game within seconds.

And that’s why The Game grabs you pretty much instantly. While there’s a little bit of build-up before the game itself begins, the classic Fincher-esque tension and Michael Douglas’ hard-as-nails performance immediately sets the scene for what is set to be a truly unforgiving thriller.

Now, The Game doesn’t rely on violence or extremely dark drama like Se7en, but it’s a lot heavier on the mind, with deliberately frustrating twists and turns turning the story into a maddening affair, as you’re pulled deeper and deeper down a bewildering rabbit hole.

Complete with moments of great action, The Game really does get you on edge throughout, leaving you questioning what’s real and what’s not, and whether what you’re seeing happening to Michael Douglas’ character is in any way justified, or a display of complete insanity.

As I’ve mentioned, that ambiguity is extremely frustrating, at times to the point that The Game feels like a preposterous, unbelievable story that there’s no point in following, because you just know it’s going to take a more ridiculous turn. However, if you stick with the story through thick and thin, I can assure you that The Game knows exactly what it’s doing.

It’s not as enjoyably dark a watch as Fight Club, nor as intricate as Gone Girl, but The Game is a proper edge-of-your-seat thriller from start to finish, with a blend of fun, exciting twists and genuinely maddening, mind-bending storytelling that will have your brain wrapped up in a twist. So, that’s why I’m giving The Game a 7.9 overall.


About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com