Thursday, July 29, 2010

#37 - The Game - 1997

The 2nd film I chose to watch this week was The Game with Michael Douglas. This movie came out in 1997 as well and I am quickly learning that 1997 was one hell of a year for movie releases. There were some darn good movies released that year! This film was directed by David Fincher which I just released and I shouldn't be surprised why I liked it so much now, he did the movie Se7en, arguably my favorite movie of all time!

The cast and crew in the Game was good but really there is only one actor worth naming and no I am not saying this just because the actor with the co-starring role is named Sean Penn, its true, only one actor needs to be mentioned, Michael Douglas. In a role which designates the main star to be on camera in more than 95% of the shots you better have a good one, and they did in Douglas. He was sensational in this film and is it just me or does he play like the best wealthy actor ever?? I mean I can name 5 movies without blinking that he has starred in which he was portraying a wealthy individual. Maybe that is why he is so good at these roles.

Douglas plays Nicholas Van Orten, a San Francisco banker who is basically a loner and a recluse. The film started out showing 8mm film of Nick with his father and then showed scenes after his father's death which he jumped to and commited suicide on his 48th birthday. We see Nick meet up with his brother on his birthday, which just happens to be his 48th and his brother, Conrad (the slimeball Sean Penn) gives him a Happy Birthday greeting card which in it has a flyer for CRS (Consumer Recreation Services). Not very interested at first Nick kind of puts it to the side but intrigue gets the better of him and he eventually goes to see what it is about.

Douglas has a way of being funny without even trying. Some of the lines he used in this film like "humor me with specifics" and "I haven't been to Sunday School in awhile", a woman says "your shoes cost $1000 and he replies", "that one did" were so funny to me in relevance to the scenes in which he said it. You have to see it to fully understand it but he is one funny dude even when not trying to be.

The plot of this story was very intriguing and well written. This film was 128 minutes so when you get to almost 2 hours and 10 minutes you've got to keep the audience interested and Fincher did that rather easily if I might say so myself, at least for me. Once Nick's game started it never let up and it only got more interesting, scary, and dangerous as time went by. One thing that I really loved was the suspenseful piano music during certain scenes through the film. It captured that scene in all its suspense and creepiness and really added a lot to the film.

The setting of this film takes place in San Francisco and while it is really not all the important to the structure or flow of this film they did take advantage of the long steep narrow streets and roads in SF for some shots in this film. What I really liked though were the off the wall crazy scenes where Nick walks into his mansion that has been broken into only to find loud music blasting and neon colored graffiti sprayed all across his interior walls. Then there was the scene where Nick and a female waitress were in the back of an ambulance and once they reached the ER at the hospital within seconds, literally seconds, everything shuts down, the lights, automatic doors, etc and the two are left to find their way out. The eeriness of empty wheelchairs rolling was quite odd to see.

One thing I will always remember when thinking about this film is the clown that basically started his game. He first noticed it in his driveway placed sorta like his dad after he jumped to his death. After seeing it was simply a decoration or doll he moved it into the house where there was a very odd exchange between a TV news anchorman and Nick himself. This was very clever and a very strange scene in the film but it made you wonder how they did it, forget I don't want to know, its a movie, I enjoyed it so lets move on.

From the excellent performance by Douglas to the very unique storyline and the obvious suspense aspect of this film I would have to say I really really enjoyed this film. I think some was a bit over the top and unbelievable but it is a movie so those things usually need to be taken into perspective. Considering everything I felt this movie was done exceptionally well and I would easily give it an A-!

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