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276 out of 342 people found the following review useful:

An intelligent tale from start to finish.

Author: The Record Guy from New York, USA
5 March 2001

Let me just tell you that, as a middle aged film buff, I have seen my share of flicks, good and bad. Very few rate as high as "The Game" in entertainment value. "The Game" is most definitely one of the "most fun" movies to hit the silver screen in a long time. Filled with plot twists and turns, this film takes the movie-goer on a psychological roller coaster ride from the tile screens to the final credit roll.

"The Game" is truly an intelligent tale, sort of a brain teaser that you get to watch and listen to, with a time limit. You have just 128 minutes to solve this, and chances are, like me, you'll be hanging on the solution to this puzzle until the very end.

The script was well written by a writer who clearly understands the needs of an adult audience. Yes, we like our fun but we like to exercise our brains once in a while also. And let there be no mistake about the great performances offered here by Michael Douglas and his co-stars. I was engrossed by all and couldn't take my eyes of the screen.

There is plenty for everybody here. Fun for all. A big winner in my book and definitely on my list of all time favorites. Get it and enjoy the ride!

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221 out of 288 people found the following review useful:

As gripping as it gets.

Author: Benzzo from Grand Rapids, MI
2 August 1998

Whether you love it or hate it, The Game definitely will not bore you. By far the most engrossing movie I've ever watched. I saw this on the big screen and throughout most of this masterpiece I kept asking myself, "where is this movie going?" For 128 spirited minutes The Game takes your mind and twists it ruthlessly, contorting it in any way it so desires. Michael Douglas is the perfect actor for this role, he played it flawlessly. I love this movie, it's definitely one of my personal favorites.

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168 out of 235 people found the following review useful:

....and when it was all over, I was blown away

Author: Agent10 from Tucson, AZ
18 April 2002

Very few films have captured my attention the way The Game did. Every turn, every corner seemed to have some hint of intrigue and deception. This film would be the life's work for any major film maker, but then again, this David Fincher were talking about.

Years from now, when Fincher is honored with his lifetime achievement award at the Academy Awards, his true fans will always remember this film. It put a whole new twist on the idea of "plot-twist." One of the few films me and my father both liked (we never agree on any film).

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91 out of 105 people found the following review useful:

A Classic Thriller

Author: Lucabrasisleeps from India
12 December 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to say I didn't expect this. I didn't have great expectations when I saw this. Especially considering the cold reception given to it by critics and audiences alike. But it is one of the most original Hollywood thrillers ever.

The story is about an investment banker named Nicholas Van Orton(Michael Douglas in one of his best roles) who is greedy and self centred and who lives alone in his huge mansion. His brother(Sean Penn) gives him a card telling him to contact the company and it is his birthday present to him. What follows is absolute edge of the seat stuff and it shows David fincher at a time when he made some of the finest movies ever seen in Hollywood. In the midst of all this, he meets a waitress named Christine. Revealing more might spoil the movie for you as it is a fun roller-coaster ride with many twists and turns.

What impressed me about this movie was the atmosphere throughout the movie. It is classic David fincher with the dark tone and great background music. The camera work is excellent especially in the scene where his father falls down to his death. These scenes also show another side to Nicholas van orton and indicate why he became the way he is. He starts out as a one dimensional guy but then when faced with crisis he shows so many sides. I feel the game is more a character study because it shows the myriad changes in his behaviour throughout the movie. Rather than depending on gimmicky twists and quick editing(which is the popular way of making movies today), The Game depends solely on atmosphere and the strength of its performances. Deborah Kara Unger gives a great performance as a character with shades of grey. She is the perfect person for this character with her mysterious look. Sean penn as usual gives a great performance but unfortunately he doesn't have much screen time.

Another aspect of the movie is the dark humor. Michael Douglas gives certain comments with a deadpan delivery that makes it even more humorous. In many ways the Game can be described as a satire on society and how people forget the most important things in life when pursuing success. It is interesting how facing a crisis brings out the most basic emotions in people and how it changes people is the basic theme of this movie. We experience the same emotions as Nicholas and thus it becomes a ride where we don't know the truth till the last moment.

I had tears in my eyes at the end and the credit should go to the direction and the music. The slow motion sequence at the end is also well done and this has got to be one of the best endings of all time.


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87 out of 105 people found the following review useful:

Michael Douglas at his very best

Author: Michael Hollywood
25 April 2000

"The Game" took me on one psychological thrill ride after another loaded with twists and turns scene after scene.

Michael Douglas pulled off his best performance as Nicholas Van Orton a man who is approaching his birthday. Upon which he receives an invitation to play a game given to him by his brother Conrad played by Sean Penn. Nicholas reluctantly agrees and soon finds out that the game is more than he bargained for.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film because I never knew who was trustworthy or what was going to happen next, this truly was one film that must be seen by those who enjoy never knowing for sure how a movie will turn out.

"The Game" is all Michael Douglas and how well he pulls off his role of being the innocent who happens to be in the middle of a game he can't control. However, a really good movie can not be pulled off by one actor, a whole lot of credit should go to Sean Penn and Deborah Kara Unger for their convincing portrayals in this film.

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100 out of 134 people found the following review useful:

Impressive movie

Author: Ásgeir Örn Nordquist ( from Kópavogur, Iceland
5 February 1999

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Nicholas Van Orton, a successful businessman lives a good life until an unexpected birthday gift from his brother destroys it all. Nicholas has been enrolled in a game - "a profound life experience" that begins quietly but soon erupts in a rush of devastating events. Van Orton has to win this deadly game or lose control of everything in his life. And this time money and power are meaningless. This is a suspense/thriller, that does manage to hold one's attention. The film stars Michael Douglas and Sean Penn. Deborah Kara Unger (David Cronenberg's "Crash") turns in a fine supporting roll as well. Davd Fincher, director of Seven and Aliens 3, continues to set high standards for motion picture making. This lastest entree of Fincher's does not lose a beat in delivering the maximum impact of the story. This movie will get into your head. It will keep you guessing the whole time. If you don't give this movie a chance you'll never know what you missed.

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100 out of 143 people found the following review useful:

Just when you got the plot, it turns upon you

Author: Martin Krogh-Poulsen from Lund, Sweden
30 July 2001

This has to be one of the more interesting psychological thrillers made recently. Just when you think you got ahold of the plot it changes! Playing with "the implicit viewer" this movie has a tendency to constantly surprise and redefine itself in relation to the "expectancy horizon". What a wonderful positive redefinition of "Seven", culminating in a refinement of the human nature and at the same time leaving the viewer with a subtle taste of the "rosicrucian initiation" in the mouth.

Definitly worth a view!

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75 out of 98 people found the following review useful:

Worth Watching - But Only Once

Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
5 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE GAME is the type of movie that was very popular at the turn of the century - One that has a great twist in the tail . Unfortunately when the great twist is revealed the film comes crashing down . The producers may claim that that THE GAME is more of a journey than a destination whereby the audience are transported somewhere but the more you think about the plot at the end of the line the more the audience will complain that the journey was a little too contrived to be worth going back on the same route

!!!! SPOILERS !!!! The premise involves " what do you get for the man who has everything " , Nicholas Van Orton has everything we wants in a material world but it's come at a price where he's a lonely middle aged man and you're instantly reminded of Michael Douglas Oscar winning role in WALL STREET as Gordon Gekko . His brother Conrad buys him a birthday gift from Consumer Recreation Services and then all sorts of strange and dangerous things start happening

The problem with the scenario is that when the ending is revealed your suspension of disbelief may not have been suspended enough . The comments pages for this film is full of people pointing out things like " What if Nicholas got mugged in Mexico, or if he jumped off a different part of the building or if he did or didn't contact such and such a person ? he wouldn't have arrived at the ending " and they're right . In fact if you stop to think about it it also means that every single previous customer who used CRS must had a successful time other wise the customer would have sued the company in a multi million pound court case . Are you trying to say all that excitement wouldn't have caused a previous customer to have a heart attack or be seriously injured , perhaps even killed ? Why do you think no one in real life has come up with something like CRS in real life ? That's because of the real life possibility of litigation

I do confess that I'm taking things a little too serious and people will point out that it's only a film and they're right . For most of the running time I found THE GAME rather compelling entertainment similar to TOTAL RECALL without the high body count and sci-fi elements and though everything disintegrates with the revelation I do recommend THE GAME as entertainment mixed in with a redemption plot

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54 out of 71 people found the following review useful:

Who Dealt This Mess?

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
2 November 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


I think it was Chuang Dz who is supposed to have asked: "Last night I dreamed I was a butterfly. Today, am I a butterfly dreaming I am a man?"

The question, like this movie and many others before it, deals with the problem of distinguishing what is real from what is illusory. An old philosophical question. But this movie does a pretty good job of exploring the issue.

The plot, basically is this. Sean Penn enrolls his brother Michael Douglas in something called "the game." Douglas enrolls in this program, a birthday present, without having any idea of what it's all about. Douglas is an extremely wealthy control freak who lives a life encased in ice. He's brutal to subordinates, frosty to friends, and lives alone and likes it. Then things begin to go wrong. First little things. His pen leaks and stains his shirt at the airport. A waitress spills wine all over him at his favorite restaurant. A man seems to drop dead in front of him. Then things spin wildly out of control. People shoot at him. His bank accounts are emptied by the people running the game. A wild taxi ride ends up with him trapped in the car at the bottom of San Francisco Bay. He's drugged by someone he trusts and wakes up dressed in rags, his nose bloodied, with no ID and no money, in a rubbish-strewn Mexican graveyard. This has happened to me once or twice and I can tell you -- it's discomfiting.

It's like an episode from The Twilight Zone or John Fowles' novel "The Magus". Or, citing cinematic history, like the pod people or Carpenter's "The Thing" or Steve Railsback in "The Stuntman." Who belongs to the conspiracy and who doesn't. Or does ANYBODY not belong? And, as a birthday present, this "game" is like one of those really ugly ties that somebody gives you, that you know you'll never wear, but you can't take it back either.

Douglas gives a surprisingly good performance. He has greater range than I'd previously given him credit for. He shows the same disdain for others that he did as Gordon Gekko but he brings a fragility to the character as well. When he sees mouth-to-mouth resuscitation being given to someone he displays what could easily pass for real disgust. And when he cuts his hand on a sliver of glass, he grimaces with pain while he rinses it and wraps it in a handkerchief, the way the adventurer of "Romancing the Stone" would never do. And there is none of the comfortable matter-of-fact laid back quality he showed as a doctor and boy friend in "Coma." The other performers are competent but Douglas has the only role that stands out.

Interesting use of location shooting too. San Francisco doesn't look like an urban theme park here. Almost all the scenes take place at night on depopulated streets and they make San Francisco look about as ugly as it's possible to make the city look. The dialog doesn't leap out at you but it does have its quiet wit, which I'm not sure is always appropriate. Douglas loses a shoe to an attack dog. "There goes a thousand dollars," he remarks to his companion. "Your shoes cost a thousand dollars?" she asks. "That one did."

At the movie's end, just when you think the game is over, there's yet another twist coming, the last one leading Douglas to suicide by jumping off the roof of a high-rise hotel, only to land safely on an air bag judiciously placed below in what looks like the lounge of the Sheraton Palace. The movie is entirely implausible. As explained at the end, there isn't a believable moment in it. But it has the kind of illogic that a real nightmare has. The viewer may realize afterward that what has happened is impossible but Douglas has no way of finding that out. Everything seems askew to him as it does to us while we watch. Even Daniel Schorr on CNN has an interactive exchange with him. "This is impossible," says Douglas. "That's right," replies Schorr. "It's impossible. You're having a conversation with your TV set." If you can't trust Daniel Schorr something is seriously screwed up.

Alas, the denouement does flunk the believability test, and badly. Douglas has been put through hell, and it all turns out for the best -- all those dangerous pranks, the living nightmare, the humiliation, the druggings, the action movie clichés, all have made him "a better man." He's grateful. Whereas a lot of fairly normal people, myself included, would try to track down every soul involved in this scam and beat the living crap out of them. I'd make a particular point of celebrating my brother Sean Penn's next birthday by crowning him with a crowbar -- a real one.

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51 out of 69 people found the following review useful:

An extremely underrated movie

Author: Confidante77 from United Kingdom
28 January 2007

After the great success, both with critics and with the public, of "Seven", Director David Fincher turned to this film. It has often been said that this movie was one he'd wanted to make for a long time and upon viewing you can really see his belief in both characters and the story- overall an excellently directed movie.

Although several people argued that "Seven" was gory, in my opinion it wasn't, for example, there is a total lack of blood in the Lust scene, something which I particularly admired- the fact that a director could make a chilling and shocking movie without resorting to piling tons of blood onto the screen. Fincher continues this streak in "The Game" by drawing the tension and shocks of the film by using psychological terror.

Unfortunately, the movie could not parallel the success of "seven" upon its release and also received mixed critical reviews, however since then it has become somewhat of a cult movie with far more success on DVD than in the box office.

Perhaps most notable about the film is the fact that (apparently) Fincher himself often seems to direct his actors in a detached way, the way one might move around chess pieces in a game. Whether this is 100% true or not his direction, the acting and just about everything else is superb.

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