6.3/10
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The Gamechangers (2015)

The struggle of Houser's legal feud against American lawyer Jack Thompson, over the morality of the Grand Theft Auto video game series.

Director:

Owen Harris

Writer:

James Wood
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Daniel Radcliffe ... Sam Houser
Bill Paxton ... Jack Thompson
Ryan Gage ... Jounalist / Presenter / Crowd (voice)
Joe Dempsie ... Jamie King
Jay Benedict ... Reporter (voice)
Alex McGregor ... Bridjet
Lex King ... Hillary Clinton's PA
Nick Boraine ... Doug Lowenstein
Michelle Allen ... Kiera
James Gracie ... Tom Masters (as James Alexander)
Inge Beckmann ... Michelle Gerilikos
D. David Morin ... Judge Moore
Demetri Goritsas ... US Radio DJ (voice)
Garth Breytenbach Garth Breytenbach ... Police Officer Arnold Strickland
Stephen Jennings ... Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
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Storyline

In the late 1990s middle class British brothers Sam and Dan Houser and two friends, all video game enthusiasts, devise a violent new game Grand Theft Auto, set in a fictionalized America and appearing to reward a car thief for murdering anybody who gets in the way of his crimes. In Britain the Police Federation brands it as sick and contemptible whilst politician Hillary Clinton accuses it of "stealing the innocence of our children." Most vocal of its critics is crusading Florida lawyer Jack Thompson who, in the wake of an Alabama teen-ager going on a killing spree and blaming the game, attempts to get it banned, bringing a court action against the Housers and their company Rockstar Games, now based in San Diego. However Thompson's public denunciation of the game is instrumental in determining the outcome of the court case. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Plot Keywords:

docudrama | See All (1) »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

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Did You Know?

Trivia

First trailer released September 3rd 2015. See more »

Goofs

Devin Moore is misquoted. See more »

Connections

References Fox News (1987) See more »

User Reviews

 
Taut Drama That Reveals the Destructive Consequences of Fanaticism
30 September 2015 | by l_rawjalaurenceSee all my reviews

The basic plot of THE GAMECHANGERS is straightforward, as crusading Florida lawyer Jack Thompson (Bill Paxton) takes on the video-game producers, notably Rockstar and its CEO Sam Houser (Daniel Radcliffe), in the belief that video-games have a destructive effect on child psychology. The inspiration for the case comes from the killing of three police officers in Alabama by teenager video-game player Devin Moore (Thabo Rametsi).

Owen Harris's production is built round a series of oppositions. Thompson believes that video-games are destructive; Houser advocates free choice. Rockstar's lawyers believe that Houser is exploiting the case for his own ends, and mount a series of counter- accusations. There is a nationalistic subtext running throughout the film contrasting the more liberal Brits (led by Houser) with the more overtly moral Americans, whose censorship laws are apparently far more stringent than those practiced within the United Kingdom. On the other hand Thompson resent Houser and his fellow-Brits for making money out of the American market with little concern for family values.

As the drama unfolds, however, we discover that its focus centers more and more on the consequences of extremism. Houser is so obsessed with novelty, with producing the ultimate video game, that he resists any possible criticism from his fellow-workers. Likewise Thompson's obsession with indicting Rockstar, in the belief that God is on his side (the side of 'right' in his view) that he does not realize the destructive effect his actions have on himself and his family. Although loyally supported by his wife (Fiona Ramsay), he might have been better advised to pause and consider the plight of son Johnny (Garion Dowds). Director Harris stresses the links between the two protagonists through repeated shots showing their faces in close-up superimposed on video-game action.

Much of the action takes place in darkness, or semi-darkness illuminated by computer screens. We are in a nether-world, one in which light seldom enters. Houser talks a lot about the "adaptability" of his new video-game; in truth both he and Thompson are profoundly un-adaptable insofar as they cannot see any other alternative to life than the contrasting causes they espouse. At one point Thompson asks the question "Who are you?" in close-up; we might interpret that statement as a metaphor for the entire film in which human beings are deprived of their identities.

In the end Harris refuses to take sides; on the contrary, he shows how both protagonists are ultimately destroyed. They might have enjoyed "success" in terms of achieving their various ambitions, but at what cost? Perhaps the only way out would have been to follow the example of Houser's colleague Jamie (Joe Dempsie) and leave the whole affair behind. Yet this is something that the obsessive protagonists cannot do.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 September 2015 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Grand Theft Auto See more »

Filming Locations:

Cape Town, South Africa See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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