The Game Screen 7 articles

The Game

1997

The Game Poster
  • Though the film's 'message' about complacency transformed by chaos and uncertainty is hackneyed, the alarming twists of the witty, ingenious script (by John Brancato and Michael Ferris) hold the attention throughout.

  • Even for a diehard atheist, there’s something immensely moving about the idea that you’ve misinterpreted all the hardships you’ve endured, and that the door you imagine leads to your death will open to reveal all your friends and family decked out in party hats. It’s the ultimate wish-fulfillment fantasy, craftily disguised as a bizarre form of shock therapy.

  • The vulnerability that is palpable in [composer] Shore's accompanying opening cue insinuates into the viewer, almost subliminally, an instant compassion for a young boy's lost innocence at the witnessing of his father's suicide. It conveys the same fear and pain hiding behind Michael Douglas' impenetrable facade in his portrayal of the grown-up Van Orton, and it is a deft display of economic, non-verbal storytelling that the Master of Suspense might have appreciated himself.

  • More than when The Game was initially released in 1997, Van Orton is an antihero of our times, a capitalist humiliated into submission by intellectuals outmaneuvering him. And believe me, this target's punishment is a little too disturbing for your simple, run-of-the-mill action franchise. Mission: Impossible audiences hungry for empty-headed derring-do from Tom Cruise would never accept siding with the enemy or the complicated implications Fincher’s subversion of his premise might provoke.

  • The Game remains the filmmaker's most challenging and balanced workout of these conflicts [i.e. the tensions between the rich, the middle class that serves them, and those wild forces who subvert both groups]. It's a twisty, expertly plotted morass that at once investigates the misanthropy of the elite and ruptures their distanced state of being, but also suggests that all of that is, itself, a clever ploy.

  • At once an elegantly constructed maze, a rambunctious Hitchcockian thriller, a multifaceted pulp fiction, and a stylish nightmare that Rube Goldberg might have invented, David Fincher’s crazy-lucid masterpiece is also a canny psychological study of an imperiled mind and a satire of contemporary capitalism that is even more timely today than when it premiered in 1997.

  • The Game's the apex of Fincher Phase One, which can roughly be said to deal with reactive characters forced to deal with situations instigated by others: Ripley in Alien 3, Pitt in Seven, Edward Norton in Fight Club (sort of), Jodie Foster in Panic Room. These are spiraling nightmares in which key pieces of information are withheld from viewers and protagonists as seemingly irrational events occur.

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