Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 118 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: There are no rules in ?the game.? And that will make life very difficult for Nicholas Van Orton (Douglas), a successful businessman who is always in control. Van Orton lives a well-ordered life, until an unexpected birthday gift from his brother destroys it all.  (Universal)
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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    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.
  5. 60
    It's a cut above the throng of mindless, purported thrillers in which explosions and gun battles replace even rudimentary story telling.
  6. 60
    It's a stylish, cleverly plotted, perpetually unpredictable film with another electric (albeit brief) performance from Penn. So why is it so unaffecting?
  7. Certainly handsome, well made and for most of its running time gripping, the film ultimately turns into a $60-odd-million piffle.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Sep 10, 2014
    The Game is a clever mind-bending thriller with Michael Douglas's best performance.
  2. Jul 9, 2014
    The Game is a smart psychological thriller. Michael Douglas plays Nicholas and he receives an unusual
    birthday present from his brother
    Conrad. Shortly after he sees him odd events start happening to him.
    He doesn't know why the events are happening but apparently it's part of the game. To uncover the
    object of the game defeats it's purpose. Overall a tightly wound thriller from the director of Fight Club,
    David Fincher.
  3. Jun 8, 2013
    Don't just watch it. Think about it. Wonder about everything. Is that really happening? Or is it the game? It really keeps you EXTREMELY curious. It won't disappoint you, I promise. Expand
  4. Riren
    Apr 21, 2007
    If you want to make thrillers, watch The Game three times: watch it once for the love of a good movie, watch it a second time to study how its plot twists are organized, and watch it a third for one of the best collections of dream-like scenes in modern film. The Game is a smart, capable thriller that earns its slick, dark appearance. It's cast is at first competent and quickly grows into a universally interesting group of faces. The plot is layered in a great execution of a wonderfully novel premise: how much of this horror story is the game? The Game earns every inch that it takes, and while it is far-fetched, you can't sit down to watch a movie about an organization that uses conspiracies and mobs of actors to infiltrate and ruin your entire life without suspending disbelief. The Game deserves that suspension, thanks to superb suspense. Expand
  5. Feb 11, 2014
    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.
  6. Jun 30, 2013
    This is just...what. Talk about a crazy movie that really, truly makes you think. Michael Douglas was awesome in the lead role and Fincher dominated as director. The ending was a little strange and felt unfitting for the rest of the movie, but all in all, a very good film that really has you on the edge of your seat. Expand
  7. Jip
    Jun 23, 2014
    The Game is making an attempt to confuse the audience and it invited the viewer to consider whether the main character is actually part of a crazy game (which he has payed for) or whether he is being deceived. The movie is at first challenging (which is awesome) and throughout it you will ask yourself whether he is still participating in the game or in something else. It sounds like a great movie indeed!

    However, the Game is a relatively mediocre movie for one main reason! It doesn't make any sense and it is therefore far from logical. The story is full of gaps and holes...It is true that a movie doesn't have to be logical and make perfectly sense, but the Game is trying soooo hard to be a 'smart' movie. At first it appears that it is...That is until you realise that the Game isn't even making an attempt to explain and bind together the strings of the plot. If the game had allocated 6-10 minuted in the end for this purpose, it could have been a real brainteaser and earned itself at least 7.5.

    Overall it is a decent movie but it is NOT the smart/well thought out movie it is trying to be, this is due to the above-mentioned!

See all 21 User Reviews