Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Game

David Fincher's attempt at a bizarre suspense thriller comes in the form of "The Game," one that unfortunately has a twist that wrecks the film at the end. I won't spoil it for you, but I will tell you that the whole movie, in itself, is such a charging force that it needs an ending that can supplement that fact, but, to tell you the truth, I can't think of any endings that would fit. Anyways, Michael Douglas plays Nicholas Van Orton, investment banker, rich guy, usual cynic who doesn't appreciate the fruits of his life. On his birthday, his brother Conrad (Sean Penn) comes to meet him and gives him a gift card to Consumer Recreation Services (which "makes your life fun" to quote Connie), which is a company that produces a product that is different for each consumer, which is already sounding ominous. Plus the fact that Van Orton must go through vocal, fitness, and association tests and sign papers for the company. To add to that, a guy he knows from his firm tells him that the experience summed up in John 9;25: "I was blind, but now I see". Van Orton goes on with life still thinking about wether or not he should go through with this game when he finds out that his application has been rejected. He then thinks it's over, but, oh no, it's just beginning. To sum it up: clowns, talking to Daniel Shorr through his television, stains, keys, pictures, a hotel room, fake ambulances, riding in a runaway taxi into the San Francisco Bay and other random things. The scheme, though, is genius: make it ridiculous so when the player goes for help, it sounds absurd, and you are on your own. But I don't see why that can be of any help when everybody is in on it, but then not really, but then really. It's confusing and frustrating and doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it is suspenseful and I guess that's all that counts. Other than that, removing the multiple twists that would ruin the movie for you as the viewer, there's not much else. Douglas is pretty good, but the role doesn't call for a lot of great acting, as does Penn's role. Deborah Kara Unger as the mysterious Christine is good. That rounds out the main cast. Spike Jonze makes an appearance, but I didn't notice him. Overall, Fincher does a pretty good job with a pretty cool idea. But the ending is bad and I can't give "The Game" a high rating. B-

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