For Reel

The Game (1997)
July 20, 2016, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: David Fincher
3.5 Stars
The GameAlthough critics of the film often point to the ending of The Game as being utterly implausible, what is so unusual about David Fincher’s sophomore effort is that its dealing with reality is tenuous from the very beginning. It’s a gutsy move for a film to begin with several pronouncements that the game of the title is a phony experiment, and then try to mine suspense from the resulting chaos. One is practically begged to watch every moment with the uncertainty that it could all be a rouse—a problem to the sense of narrative stakes to say the least. Does it matter? Perhaps it is perfectly valid to watch the film from a distance, admiring the artifice of it all and routing for the hero not to get to the bottom of it, but to learn a lesson. It is here that The Game takes a radical left turn from something like Martin Scorsese’s After Hours, which constructs a Kafka-esque nightmarish scenario and cruelly but relatably suggests that the insane twists of fate are just as dehumanizing as life in an office environment. The Game‘s title alone allows a certain bemused detachment—even if one goes along with Michael Douglas’ horrifying descent into potential conspiracies, the title refers to the pleasures of a tightly-constructed narrative, with Fincher openly savoring in the unreality of it all.

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