Movie Notes: The Game
= 4 stars
Starring Michael Douglas, Sean Penn
Directed by David Fincher
Grumpy, anti-social investment banker Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is given a strange birthday present by his brother Conrad (Sean Penn) – an invitation to a real-life role playing game.
- Competent thriller / twist movie, where the explanation for the progressively stranger situations remains constantly just out of reach.
- Despite a somber look, Fincher controls everything admirably, even lending some scenes a Hitchcock-like tension (where Nicholas cuts his hands on the mirror, and discovers a fabricated house).
- Filmed in San Francisco, namely the financial district and Chinatown.
- Slightly reminiscent of Eyes Wide Shut as a glimpse into what those with way too money and power might do to pass the time.
- Really pushed my belief suspension from the very start, when Nicholas willingly gives so much personal information over to the mysterious gaming company, and later, when he escapes from a sunken car. The game’s machinations, while dramatically cool and exciting, eventually make the puppeteers seem unbelievably omniscient.
Ultimately, The Game suggests it’s possible to know someone’s so well that you can predict how they’d react to any event – someone can know you better than you know yourself. When a mega-corporation does this, it’s creepy, but when your friends and family have you fingered, it’s heartwarming. These conflicting emotions layered with suspense and trust make this game one I’d play again.