The Game (1997)

The Game (1997)

1997 R 129 Minutes

Drama | Thriller | Mystery

In honor of his birthday, San Francisco banker Nicholas Van Orton, a financial genius and a cold-hearted loner, receives an unusual present from his younger brother, Conrad: a gift certificate to p...

Overall Rating

8 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • WHAT I LIKED: John Brancato and Michael Ferris' 'The Game,' is a high-concept movie like any other in which a novel narrative idea serves to put a character through their paces and spur a degree of personal change.

    Specifically, it's about a cold, unfulfilled investment banker Nicholas (brilliantly performed by Michael Douglas) whose brother (Sean Penn) arranges an elusive prank service called CRS to disrupt every aspect of his life. From the off that's clearly intended to have him put things into perspective and recognise what's important, but it's mainly engaging to watch because of the tension and mystery that lies behind CRS and the extents of their theatrics. It starts with them just sneaking things into his possession or leading him on wild goose chases after strangers, but it soon spirals into drugs, guns and theft and starts to involve those he's close to. The increasing confusion and Nicholas' desperation often has you on the edge of your seat wondering whether it's all part of the sinister plan, or spinning beyond control, and that's emphasised by David Fincher's ever-atmospheric camera work which is allowed an admirable amount of talking room by the script.

    WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: It's pretty clear from the start where the character arc is headed, so you can't help but shake the feeling that most of the plot points are fairly unnecessary and overly elaborate in helping Nicholas toward his realisations.

    VERDICT: 'The Game,' is a high-concept thriller buoyed more by the mystery of the plot itself than the overly elaborate effects had by that on its central character.