Top positive review
30 people found this helpful
Criterion Blu Ray Elevates The Game
on December 2, 2012
On its 15th anniversary, The Game has been given its best treatment ever by the good folks at The Criterion Collection - it's never looked or sounded better!
I missed this movie in the theaters in 1997 but saw it immediately upon its video release and it instantly became one of my favorite thrillers. Michael Douglas is spot-on as an emotionally detached, wealthy investment banker given an unusual birthday gift from his younger brother. I actually prefer this performance over the similar but more bombastic role of Gordon Gekko. As Nicholas Van Orton, Douglas gets to breathe a full range of emotion into his character and he really makes the most of it. Sean Penn is great as usual as Van Orton's unstable brother Connie and Deborah Kara Unger turns in a strong performance as a mystery woman who may or may not be on Van Orton's side.
Where to rank this among David Fincher's other great films is hard to say (it's my 2nd favorite) but I would say that it is the most overlooked. I don't know if that's because of the simplistic name of the film, how it was marketed or something else entirely but like The Shawshank Redemption, it seem seems to be one of those films that most people discovered far beyond its initial release. Having just watched it again, I was delighted to see that it had not aged a bit - something that cannot be said of other films of the 90s which are already showing their age.
As I said, the film has never looked better. It was never given very good treatment on video as it was (and that's being charitable) but this version hits it out of the park. The dark scenes that dominate the film are more clear than ever and Fincher's use of colored light has dramatic impact. Special features include 5 major set detail pieces exclusive to Criterion, trailer, teaser and audio commentary from all the principals throughout. It also includes an alternate ending that I'm thankful they didn't use. If you're a fan of this film, this Criterion release is essential.
Lastly, a little about the plot itself. There's not much that can be said without ruining the film's twists and turns but I cannot agree with the films few detractors who found it "too clever" or worse, those to whom it didn't make sense. Watch it again; it's pretty much all there within the scenes & the dialogue. Can you poke holes in parts of it? Of course you can, but I've yet to see a film where that is not the case - life itself has lapses of reason. What I like about The Game is that it does a more than adequate job of providing a tether to reality while it creates a mysterious world of its own - as long as you're willing to play along.