CinemaCl🎃wn’s review published on Letterboxd:
Immensely dark, thoroughly gripping & extremely unpredictable yet nothing more than just a game, David Fincher's follow-up to his darkest masterpiece is a meticulously crafted, cleverly layered & fabulously narrated mystery thriller that starts playing with your conscience from its opening moments, drops subtle hints throughout its runtime to give an insight of its structure & completely flips on you the very moment you think you've got it all sorted out.
The Game tells the story of a wealthy investment banker who on his 48th birthday, which is the same age when his father committed suicide, receives an unusual present from his brother - a voucher for participation in a "game" that will ultimately change his life. Hesitant at first, he eventually gives in to curiosity only to later find his life slowly spiral out of control as the mysterious game begins to merge with his life in a strangely compelling manner & completely consumes him.
Expertly directed by David Fincher, this film is often found at the backseat of his filmography not because it's by any means a disappointing feature but because it's left with no choice as this amazing filmmaker has made a career out of delivering one spellbinding cinema after another. Here, he slowly elevates the tension & keeps teasing the audience by presenting one twist after another till the final pay-off which is pretty much destined to evoke an extreme reaction.
The screenplay is a gem in itself though it's not flawless by any means. While we accept almost everything that is being fed to us, few confounding moments don't hold up well on looking back & requires a little suspension of disbelief. Cinematography provides a sense of paranoia to the story while also showcasing excellent use of contrast & lighting, editing smartly paces the narrative without ever giving away its plot, and Howard Shore's score further amplifies its dubious atmosphere.
Coming to the performances, The Game is Michael Douglas' show all the way as the actor seamlessly steps into his character's shoes & plays him with sublime authenticity from start to finish without ever getting carried away. Remaining in complete control of his emotions, Douglas is the binding element that holds the film together & he was unquestionably an excellent casting choice. Sean Penn has already played a diverse set of characters in his career & just like its supporting cast, he's no slouch in this one.
On an overall scale, The Game may not qualify as a cinematic masterpiece for it comes with its own share of flaws ranging from few unconvincing twists to a rather despicable finale yet the number of emotions it takes its viewers through is quite astonishing plus my stint with it was incredibly enjoyable & entertaining. A splendid work of originality, The Game presents both Fincher & Douglas in stellar form and is one amusing cinema that promises loads of fun throughout its runtime. Delightfully recommended.