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This is one of David Fincher's most criminally underrated films. My heart raced for a majority of this film and I couldn't take my eyes away. It's very unpredictable and has lots of twists and turns that will actually keep you guessing until the end (I used to hate when critics said this until I saw this movie). The performances are great, the writing is fantastic and if you don't think this is one of the best thrillers you've ever seen, I'd like to know the other films that beat this one out.
What do you get a rich man who has everything he thinks he wants? If you're his brother, maybe you get him an experience. CRS (Consumer Recreation Services) provides a "game" for the elite that caters itself to the player. But who is the player and who is being played? When the game begins to go sideways and your property, your wealth, your family and your life are in danger is there any way out with your sanity in tact?
Michael Douglas and Sean Penn shine as brothers who get "trapped" within a game when what was a birthday gift turns into a nightmare. This is one of those movies that once you've seen it and know what's happening you want to see it again to see if there were signs, and then you want each of your friends to see it to see if they figure it out, and soon you're buying boxes of the movie to give as gifts to everyone you know. Maybe the game owns us all.
The Criterion Collection (the third format I've bought this in) is fantastic. The sound is impeccable, the extras are terrific for true fans and the commentary will help solve some of the mystery of "The Game".
I saw this movie at the theater years ago. I enjoyed it very much because of the many twists after twist and the immaculate performance of Michael Douglas. Screenwriter and director achieved a perfect marriage to hook the viewer in a way that you don't stop, think and realize "I don't think so." From the very start, the hook is thrown, and you don't even realize you've bitten. Douglas, the director, and an incredible crew that pulled off every scene will carry you as the birthday boy is carried through his game. Later, you may think about it and figure "Hmm... A gift like this one could not cost less than several dozen million dollars. Again, don't think so. This flick is just like a movie of dragons and slayers that gear unstoppable action. However, you don't need to believe or disbelieve slayers and dragons. You follow the action, but in this case, there is San Francisco, a millionaire banker, a good-looking woman and a bunch of other people that have one mission: To make Douglas life miserable. Maybe that changes his ways.
Put me down for 3.5 stars. It was suspenseful and well acted (I originally saw it at least 10 yrs ago but couldn't remember it fully) and - obviously - surprise after surprise was coming your way. I can usually suspend disbelief for a well done premise, but the number of variables that would have had to be covered to make it work was too much for me, especially at the end when I have no belief that 'X' marks the spot so conveniently and perfectly. Yah, uh, NO! I don't think so! Enough scary and dangerous things happened that a broken leg (or death) was pretty much a guarantee, except of course it is all 'planned' out. Hmmm. Two things ultimately: 1. I know the bill at the end MUST have been huge and the liability waiver would've had to encompass every disaster known to man. 2. I would never trust any of them ever again. I would have walked out - P.O.'d would not begin to describe how I would feel, and I say that even knowing that (pre-game) Nicholas Van Orton was a jerk of the highest order, albeit rich and well dressed.
If you are looking for a movie where you wonder what can they possibly do now? What will they put him through next? Well this movie is for you. Sit back for high action a lot of uh-oh moments. Those are GoodNPlenty!
3 stars only for Michael Douglas' acting. If the motive behind what was happening to him was different, it could have been a good movie. So his brother hired the company to set up all those scenarios so in the end, he would become a better person and appreciate life more? If thats all they wanted to accomplish, just put him in a building in a Saw type situation, make sure he stays alive, and he will come out very appreciative he is alive, and they wouldnt have had to plan all those scenarios or hire all those different actors. Makes no sense. Plus if this really happened to someone, do you think they would be smiling and hugging everyone when they found out the truth, or would they be pissed off??
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 12, 2017
For a film is 17 years old this has to be one of the best films to watch, i've seen this film 10 times before and last night i watched it again for the 11th time and still loved it. If you want a film to keep you watching then i strongly recommend this.. Buy it you won't be disappointed.
5.0 out of 5 starsA good underrated Film,wont disappoint.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 1, 2017
I first watched this years ago at first to me didnt looked great but having been a huge fan of psychologicals watched it then loved it.A rare moment when you cant really guess the story outcome.I owned this but like other films which are my all time favourites i like to keep a selected amount on Blu ray.Again not for everyone but none the less a film id highly recommend over most recent rubbish out there.At almost 20 years old is still a timeless under rated film. If you love thrillers or Michael Dauglas then this is a must.Why cant they make more like this..
Received the film earlier today, decided to order it after reading some really good reviews and although I would recommend seeing it, don’t think I could watch it as many times as some have. It’s not a film that I had heard of and I know the cinema chain I worked for at the time of its release didn’t show the film hence me never knowing about it. Def worth seeing and during this lean time of film releases, for many it will be like watching a new release as it was for me.
4.0 out of 5 starsA perfect plot and direction, but also a too cold approach that hardly ever engage our heart, other than our mind.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 17, 2015
THE FILM Four stars, but it is just too cold, even more than Fincher usually is. And I don't mean that characters and story are cold in itself, but the kind of (brilliant) engagement this film has on viewers, is merely related to the plot and not to what characters really feel. You hardly get all the drama in the life of Douglas' character, if not because he is a truly good actor and, even without a warm and emotional film direction, he personally give his character an added value and appeal. The others are instead just puppets. All the rest (the elegant direction, editing and photography, the evocative opening credits, the surreal scenes and the overall unpredictability of the plot) perfectly work as usual in a Fincher's film. BUt it is all too planned and scripted, while sometimes films must forget about how making the plot go on and focus a little more on what makes characters live and become real. FINCHER FILMOGRAPHY Which is what makes all his filmography always very interesting, well done, entertaining, but not always so engaging (it is in films like Seven, Social Network and Zodiac, where actors really make the difference). Even his last great film (Gone Girl) presents the same kind of approach: too much plot, really controlled and balanced direction, but not big interest in the characters, if not in the mutual dynamics, which are, anyway, more related to the unfolding of the story than on the true revelation of their personality. They all seem to be deep and complex, but they are just "acted and scripted characters". It is not a problem in a film like that, but he can become a little problem in more ambitious ones.
5.0 out of 5 starsunderrated thriller with a convincing emotional core that gets better with time
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 3, 2017
underrated thriller with a convincing emotional core that gets better with time. also it's another Fincher movie about male fragility with Michael Douglas giving probably his best, most controlled performance. I found it unexpectedly touching and satisfyingly developed and rounded out. Really worth a rewatch.