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GAME, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is a San Francisco investment banker worth millions, whose human relationships are less than liquid. He's divorced. He's only occasionally in touch with his kid brother, Conrad (Sean Penn), who has his share of behavioural problems. We learn that, as a child, Nicholas witnessed his wealthy 48-year-old father leap to his death from the roof the family mansion. Nicholas lives alone with his father's housekeeper in a castle-cum-prison of a home. It's clearly time for this '90s Scrooge to get in touch with his inner bile and learn valuable lessons about himself and people. When Nicholas turns 48, his brother gives him a one-of-a-kind birthday present: a gift certificate for CRS, or Consumer Recreation Services. But when Nicholas shows up to CRS's glass tower office to claim his good time, he's submitted to a physical exam, and a barrage of questionnaires about his financial status, personal history and hobbies. Then the game begins, a game in which Nicholas is as much victim as player, and every toss of the dice leads to danger. In the end, only death itself, and a cathartic release from the memory of his fatherís suicide seems enough. But it isnít.

"In its favour, The Game maintains its early promise of intensity up to the very end, and the audience ends up with muscles on its brain after the workout. As Todd remarks in Variety (below), this unusual level of mental activity may prove too much for those simply seeking a thrilling two hours in a dark room with a bucket of popcorn. I found it stimulating, if far too far fetched, and enjoyed the bizarre world of a super-smart game created for those at the top of the corporate game ladder with nothing left to challenge them. Except perhaps being decent, fully rounded human beings. Nice to see the memorable Armin Mueller Stahl (father in Shine) in a juicy role in a Hollywood picture, but the puzzling thing is the fact that Sean Pennís role is relatively small, albeit important. His on screen time is measured in a handful of minutes. Entertaining and bold, The Game scores high in the tall tales for grown ups stakes."
Andrew L. Urban

"Expectations ran high after David Fincher's highly lauded thriller, Seven, burst on an unsuspecting public. The Game may not be as startling a film as its predecessor, but is as exhilarating on a different level. Here is a film that appears to be very mainstream on the one hand, yet, like the game in question, seems to break the rules. Witty and inventive, the film is reminiscent of The Sting, in terms of the way it fools the audience. Nothing is what it seems, and the film plays along on one level as a kind of action comedy/thriller with an innocent guy on the run from people and he has no idea why. Yet, by the third act, it offers us a wonderfully satisfying and unpredictable denouement. The Game also poses an interesting question: Imagine if you had wealth and power, yet were isolated. What would become of you if all of that were stripped away, and finally, you'd have to rely on your inner resources and those for whom you once cared? Douglas gives a fine performance as a character full of contradictions, and he's aided by the incomparable Deborah Kara Unger as a mysterious waitress who enters his life and becomes a crucial element of this game. Smartly directed by Fincher whose visual flair is further evidenced here, The Game is a film that refutes the proposition: what you see is what you get. In this case, the opposite is true."
Paul Fischer

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GAME (THE) (M)
(US)

CAST: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger, James Rebhorn, Peter Donat, Carroll Baker, Anna Katarina, Armin Mueller-Stahl

PRODUCER: Steve Golin

DIRECTOR: David Fincher

SCRIPT: John Brancato, Michael Ferris

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Harris Savides

EDITOR: James Haygood

MUSIC: Howard Shore

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jeffrey Beecroft

RUNNING TIME: 128 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: PolyGram

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 2, 1997

RRP: $24.95

AUSTRALIAN VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: POLYGRAM

AUSTRALIAN VIDEO RELEASE: AUGUST 12, 1998







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