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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 26.67%
Average: 20%
Pretty Bad: 4.44%
Total Crap: 5.56%

5 reviews, 60 user ratings

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Game, The (1997)
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by Ryan Arthur

"Turn it off as soon as Douglas hits the glass."
3 stars

It's all just a game. Or is it?

I'll say this for the movie: this is one flick where we don't have the obligatory Mike Douglas-banging-some-woman-from-behind-butt-shot, a la Basic Instinct. No sir, he's too busy running from a personalized birthday present to be making time with the ladies. Which is a shame, because this movie could've used a scene with Jeanne Trippelhorn. But I digress.

The Game works on a few levels. Visually, it's very appealing. David Fincher really uses shadow's to the film's advantage, and it's very dark, even when it's broad daylight during a scene. Unlike Seven (or Se7en, if you prefer), where it's raining during the entire film, Fincher keeps everything free and clear. But still dark. The movie also takes paranoia to new levels. Who's in on it? You're never quite sure. Everybody, probably. The story's interesting, to say the least.

Douglas also is quite good. He rebounds nicely from The Ghost and The Darkness. It's a decent performance, and you keep wondering if he'll go off the deep end like he did in Falling Down.

But that's where the praise ends.

The very title "the game" is what deflates any suspense. What's missing, essentially, is motive. Why would brother Sean Penn set Mike up for such an elaborate death? Does he stand to gain? And why does Deborah Kara Unger keep showing up at the oddest times? Is she involved or does she just have an uncanny sense of timing?

Is the movie scary? Nope. Creepy? You bet. There's nothing quite so unsettling as when a TV anchorperson starts talking to Douglas directly through his television. Someone, somewhere, is always watching, and we're neer quite sure who's in on it...the hotel clerk? The homelss guy? Sean Penn?

Is there suspense? Yes, but not in the sense that you're wondering, "is that really Gwyneth Paltrow's head in a box?" It's suspense in that there are so many twists to the film that when the conclusion finally comes to a head (no pun intended), you're exhausted from the chase itself. But the finale lets you down. It's not the fault of Fincher or the cast. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the writers (4 of them, 2 uncredited).

Nice buildup. Terrible conclusion.

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originally posted: 08/25/98 00:43:07
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User Comments

12/28/17 morris campbell tense & well made had problems with the ending 4 stars
2/25/15 stanley welles an exercise in plotting rather than characterization, albeit an elegantly directed one 3 stars
9/03/12 Courtney Incredible acting by Michael Douglas. Another great Fincher movie. 5 stars
7/21/12 Sean Harrison One of David Fincher's weaker films but still better than Alien 3. 3 stars
10/31/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
10/15/07 fools♫gold Fincher's worst. 3 stars
8/12/07 Quigley Great puzzle of a film. Douglas is good. Superb direction by Fincher. Unreal ending, though 5 stars
6/13/07 al smith amazing script,acting and directing.gripping from start to finish 5 stars
11/06/06 Chris a good movie that held my interest. Have watched several times. 5 stars
10/22/06 Dillon A disturbingly clever thriller. 5 stars
12/03/05 Jennifer S. Kept me guessing the whole way through! I loved it! 5 stars
8/28/05 Evan Stupid people won't get this 5 stars
8/26/05 ES So confusing it looses you before the end, by then you probably won't care what's going on 2 stars
7/29/05 Nobody Truly amazing and suspenseful thriller. Made me almost give up trying to guess the end. 5 stars
3/18/05 indrid cold A mindbender even for modern, jaded audiences that expect twists and turns. 4 stars
11/25/04 Abbath Great concept, gets you very involved. 5 stars
11/12/04 jellica it was weird but i liked it 5 stars
8/16/04 Peter James Fans of the film should also see Se7en and Fight Club...more David Fincher work 5 stars
7/08/04 Spinz This movie ws SIKKKKK 5 stars
6/14/04 MyGreenBed Yet another good looking but lacking content film by Fincher (he needs better writers). 3 stars
3/21/04 john doesn't make a shred of sense once you think about it -utterly contrived and silly 1 stars
2/28/04 Kyle Razor-sharp filmmaking. Ranks among Fincher's best. 5 stars
11/20/03 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) 1 movie that is 100% fun, well-made, & UNPREDICTABLE. 5 stars
9/25/03 Buck Amazing mind game. Fincher's most underrated film. 5 stars
7/09/03 natasha_theobald messes with your head in a creative and entertaining way 5 stars
6/26/03 Geo78665 Really good, up until the pathetic ending. 4 stars
5/23/03 mr. Pink A great adrenaline ride that keeps you guessing until the very end! Thrilling! 5 stars
1/04/03 Marc Hayden Great Film, that would be the greatest present ever 5 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby An underrated masterpiece. Douglas' career-best performance. 5 stars
12/09/02 Agatha Great! 5 stars
11/24/02 Charles Tatum One of Fincher and Douglas' best 5 stars
10/23/02 palaboy101 Run to your local video rentals! 5 stars
4/09/02 jawsboy24 So far fetched, yet highly entertaining & well shot. The ending was great, but also silly. 4 stars
4/08/02 Nicole In no way realistic, but a great movie despite. 4 stars
4/03/02 Mo Anand Pretty good movie that keeps you watching 4 stars
3/25/02 Jimmy Great Movie !!! 5 stars
2/27/02 NWO4LIFE Highly entertaining, but I have mixed feelings about the ending. 4 stars
1/26/02 daniboy disappointing. I mean, it's David Fincher 2 stars
1/24/02 Andrew Carden Excellent Douglas Movie. 5 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk DAVID Fincher's third film is his second best next to Seven...Douglas is great. 5 stars
6/13/01 canuck When he jumps, how did they know where to put the net. So many plot holes. Yuck. 1 stars
5/22/01 Francois Asselin improbable but very entertaining 5 stars
4/04/01 Matthew Bartley I'm all in favour of suspension of disbelief but this was ridicolous! Really crap 2 stars
3/17/01 INCUBATOR Rulezzz 5 stars
2/16/01 Ray McCoy The ending: 5 mins of a 2 hr film and someone thinks it justifiable to comment Total Crap? 5 stars
2/12/01 Jake They ripped off the story from Total Recall. It sucked! 1 stars
1/05/01 Kelly Lotsa holes, but great escapism for 2 hours. A good fictional story. 4 stars
12/02/00 Angela Murtagh Very suspenseful...awesome! 5 stars
11/15/00 The EVIL Penguin This could happen to YOU!!!!!! 4 stars
11/03/00 Cristopher Revilla exellent movie, what an ending!!!! 5 stars
9/02/00 Rosalie Coleman I loved this movie! You could never tell exactly what was going on, a true mind fuck! 5 stars
4/14/00 JonnyAngel It's a MOVIE! 4 stars
3/03/00 Richard Wright I'm the first to vote Total Crap!Unbelieveable!Some good suspense,ruined by TERRIBLE ending 1 stars
6/09/99 Lucas jackson The movie was awesome,until the end 4 stars
2/18/99 Piz smart, dark, and fun...keeps u interested, needed a bit more action though. 4 stars
1/15/99 Dasha Interesting twists, but overall not really good 3 stars
11/25/98 Mr.Pink D. Fincher is one of the best directors around! This is one of the best thrillers of '90's 5 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball I felt dizzy. Which is usually good. Not this time. 3 stars
8/18/98 Johny Had no energy and was actually boring 2 stars
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  12-Sep-1997 (R)



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