The Game (1997)

The Game came out in 1997, which means I’ve had over two decades to deconstruct this movie time and time again. Even viewing this crazy story today, I still don’t quite understand the finer details of it all. As a fan of Michael Douglas’s career, the only thing I learnt from this particular role is that rich people can pull off elaborate events that none of us common flock will ever understand. 

Most people would probably be thrilled to have Sean Penn as their brother. However, when your brother launches a “game” and completely destroys your life for a few weeks… it is considered fun! I can’t help but repeat what I said earlier; it is simply crazy what rich people will do for “fun.” 

Besides all the crazy events and never-ending confusion, one of my favourite aspects is the random woman Christina, played by Deborah Kara Unger. She is one of the recurring characters who are the only light in the darkness that Nicholas Van Orton (Douglas) finds himself in. 

There may be a whole bucket of clues throughout the film that I still haven’t figured out even after two dozen views. I hope that when you watch this, you piece it all together, with much more success than I’ve had after the first few times.

It is impressive to think that back when this film was shot, in a generation before cell phone GPS and all other tracking devices, the game makers could keep such a keen eye on Nicholas and his daily struggles. No matter where he goes or what decision he makes, the right people and props are there to alter the situation and keep the game alive. 

One of the most confusing aspects of it all may be that Conrad (Penn) went through all this trouble to help Nicholas get over their father’s death. This family figured instead of therapy, they decided to temporarily ruin a man’s life to shock his system. 

I guarantee that The Game won’t be for everyone. Whether it the beginning, middle, or end, there are a hundred different aspects of the story that just won’t click with people. That being said, those who love a good mystery and want to watch it unravel so they can put it back together maybe thoroughly entertained. Definitely not one of Douglas’s greatest roles, but one of his most charismatic roles. 8/10


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