David Fincher (who also directed Se7en which I’ll be talking about a bit later) gives us this thriller about a rich man called Nicholas (played by Michael Douglas) who has restricted his life and become a bit of an asshole. On his birthday we see Nicholas’ brother give him a voucher for a game from a company called CRS (Consumer Recreations Services). The game takes over Nicholas’ life, forces him to question the motives of everyone around him and pretty quickly it stops seeming like any kind of game anymore.
The game Nicholas is forced to play preys perfectly on paranoia. Michael Douglas’ growing panic throughout the film makes it something that is genuinely scary- we see his entire life get turned upside down, his friends turn out to not actually be friends, his father’s suicide mocked… this list can go on a lot longer. It’s also thought provoking if you’re a weirdo like me who overthinks things. The thought that everyone’s in on the joke and laughing at you is an uncomfortable one for all of us. We like to be included and this exclusion is something we all fear.
Now for the downside to this film- and it is to its credit that it only has one- the ending is atrocious. The build up to it is fantastic and definitely makes up for those final five or so minutes but seriously? No lasting psychological damage? Really? I understand why it ended like that and I appreciate that the anticlimax certainly works in this case but good god at least make the character’s reaction to it believable. I do have one tiny niggle at the romance they managed to shove in there but it’s easy enough to ignore.
Overall I reccommend it. Bravo suggests that the scene where the game begins is the scariest and I agree- it gets across that this isn’t going to be a fun game, hints at the sinister way that it will deconstruct Nicholas’ life and kicks off that paranoia. The Game is a good thriller with a good story that, in spite of a lacklustre ending, is a good watch.