Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. 88
    The movie's thriller elements are given an additional gloss by the skill of the technical credits, and the wicked wit of the dialogue.
  2. An intensely exciting puzzle-gimmick thriller, the kind of movie that lets you know from the start that it's slyly aware of its own absurdity.
  3. It's formulaic, yet edgy. It's predictable, yet full of surprises. How far you get through this tall tale of a thriller before you give up and howl is a matter of personal taste.
  4. On the surface, The Game is an unusually imaginative thriller that bends its offbeat plot into so many twists that you actually have to pay attention - something few Hollywood movies demand nowadays - to understand its evolution and enjoy the multiple payoffs at the end.
  5. At times The Game is frustrating to watch, but that's just a measure of how well Fincher succeeds in putting us in his hero's shoes.
  6. The disappointing ending aside, there is much to enjoy in The Game, a creation with a sheen so highly burnished that sometimes you feel you must look away.
  7. 75
    As it's unspooling on screen, the film is hugely entertaining, but there are several significant plot holes that grow wider the more closely they're investigated.
  8. Mr. Douglas, who delivers a new shade of cruel elegance each time he plays another urbane monster, is the ideal star for this vigorously contrived thriller.
  9. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    70
    This is not a movie that can bear much postgame scrutiny. The minute you begin to question one element of the plot, gaping holes of logic appear throughout.
  10. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    The film itself is limited by the material's nature as a brainy exercise and by its narrow focus; individual response will depend upon how tantalized one is by puzzles and games, as well as upon how off-putting one finds the central character, who is center-stage throughout.
  11. This sort of flick can be fun, and there are moments here when it is, when a suddenly shifting perspective tosses us for a dizzying loop. Then again, there's such a thing as too much fun and too many moments -- at over two hours, this particular game meanders on way past its welcome.
  12. 60
    It's a cut above the throng of mindless, purported thrillers in which explosions and gun battles replace even rudimentary story telling.
  13. 60
    Fincher is still working on the assumption that he has better things to do than entertain an audience. Which would be fine if he weren't drawn to such schlocky material.
  14. 60
    It's a stylish, cleverly plotted, perpetually unpredictable film with another electric (albeit brief) performance from Penn. So why is it so unaffecting?
  15. 50
    By any fair standard, this lushly produced film is a long, bumpy ride to a major letdown.
  16. 50
    It also has wild plot holes and requires an almost inhuman suspension of disbelief, but it's still a fun ride up to a point.
  17. 50
    In The Game, Fincher pulls back from the total gross-out but sustains a tone of aggravated anxiety. Hitchcock could have done this material and still made its perversities pleasurable.
  18. What emerges is a very poor man's North by Northwest without much moral nuance and a decreasing number of thrills.
  19. Certainly handsome, well made and for most of its running time gripping, the film ultimately turns into a $60-odd-million piffle.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 76 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Mar 1, 2011
    10
    The game is a movie for people that like to keep thinking. Fincher manages to make the audience paranoid to what and who are actually a part of this crazy "game". It manages to tap into the same fiction that made Total Recall a success while replacing the sci-fi parts with real world craziness, as well as some of the most subtle character development I've seen in a long time. However, it is impossible to reveal any specifics without spoiling some part of story, which would be a shame to any first time viewer.

    If you enjoyed movies like Total Recall, Inception, The Matrix, or even Truman Show, give this movie a shot. The Game will stick with you for a while for all of the right reasons.
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 26, 2014
    8
    Unfortunately, i accidentally saw the ending before the movie. This will probably result in an unfair review, but it's inevitable.

    It's not
    among David Fincher's best work, but still pretty great in its own right. The story may not be very original, but its execution is very good. The performances are very competent and effective.

    if you're a fan of David Fincher, or of mystery & suspense movies in general, watch it.
    Full Review »
  3. Feb 11, 2014
    8
    In a dark, dangerous San Francisco lives Nicholas Van Orten (Michael Douglas), a very rich businessman and a total loner. He doesn’t come across as pathetic, but as rather as stern and cold, and blatantly unhappy despite the lap of luxury in which he lives. Sensing Nicholas’ unhappiness, Nicholas’ wild and über ostentatious brother Conrad (Sean Penn) appears and presents Nicholas a birthday gift, a gift that is sure to add some excitement to Nicholas life, and lift him out of the depressive fog that he carries around everywhere.

    Along the way we learn some little bits of information about Nicholas’ life, but not much, which is nice because his past doesn’t really seem to matter anyway. Fincher takes the character and forces him to deal strictly with the present time. All past regrets, misdeeds, and sins fall away when you are literally fighting for your life.

    Conrad’s gift is a game. A set of real life, role-playing scenarios designed and executed by a company alleged called CRS. We don’t know what CRS is, and neither does Nicholas, so when bizarre happenings start to occur, such as the nightly news anchor breaking character and speaking directly to Nicholas in his living room, Nicholas cannot tell what is really happening. Is this part of the game? Or am I hallucinating?

    Soon the puppet masters at CRS crank up the intensity of the events. There are numerous attempts on Nicholas’ life. At one point he wakes up in Mexico after having been buried alive in an underground tomb. The occurrences are so extreme, that as an audience, we are just as confused as Nicholas. It is real? Or is it a game? It is impossible to tell, and this is what makes this film so much fun to watch.

    The world that CRS tailors to its clients is very cool and well put together. Even though Nicholas is told distinctly that the CRS game will begin, and it is not until after he is told this that strange and dangerous things start to happen, we are still unsure if it’s game or reality. Fincher is essentially blurring our understanding of the common philosophical conventions of cause and effect.

    The Game is a good thriller, and an entertaining watch. The production value of the film is excellent. It projects on screen in dark, shadowy tones, mixed with diverse textures setting one scene to next to a another composed completely different. The film is full of interesting settings from Nicholas’ mansion, to a Mexican border town, to meetings in coffee shops, to cabins in the woods, but despite the actual events taking place being very entertaining to watch, the film never really establishes what truth it is trying to convey. The ending is disappointing. We are not left with any kind of substantial meaning.

    The CRS experience is meant to be a massive, over-the-top shock to the nervous system. This shock forces one, Nicholas in this case, to decide whether he wants to fight to stay alive, or let go and die. Maybe we are supposed to take the hint and choose to live now, even though we don’t have CRS to break us out of our depression and lethargy, as individuals, or as a whole society. But this might be pushing the limits of interpretation. Despite the absence of the deeper themes, such as investigating the pointlessness of existence as in Fight Club, or the proving the worthlessness of humanity as in Seven, The Game is still great watch. Once the film ends, it doesn’t linger for days in the front of your mind like the best thrillers, but while your watching it you’ll be on the edge of your seat, never knowing what it going to happen next.
    Full Review »