Being a rather underachieving film for its time, The Game, a 1997 neo-noir, psychological thriller, for me, had everything: David Fincher (arguably Hollywood’s most courageous, stylish director of the dark thriller) at the helm, Michael Douglas and Sean Penn demonstrating their typical, energetically fierce selves, and a storyline like no other – I repeat “no other.”
The Game tells the story of an extremely wealthy, shrewd investment banker (Douglas), who, being estranged from his ex-wife and only brother, receives an usual voucher from his brother on his 48th birthday for a “game”. The “game” is offered by a company called Consumer Recreation Services (CRS) and it guarantees to change your life forever. After applying and filling out a rigorous series of drawn-out, psychological/physiological examinations, he is later informed that his application has been “rejected”.
At this point, don’t be fooled. A ruse has occurred: The Game has commenced. What follows is the most elegantly shot 2 hours of mystery and Hitchcockian suspense that you are likely to see. A bombardment of questions instantly storms the viewer: Is it a game? Is it real? Is his brother in on it? Are the company after Nicholas Van Orton’s fortune?
If you are a firm admirer of the David Fincher brand (Seven, Zodiac, Fight Club), The Game is no different: what we are seeing is a true cineaste at work. His colouration of a scene and ability to set a mood based solely on this colouration is nothing short of masterful.
I would recommend this film to any fan of the genre.