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The Game (DVD) Review
One of Michael Douglas's least appreciated films, The Game is an intriguing movie dripping with suspense. With a heightened intensity few films can rival, The Game quickly moves from one surprising scene to the next, always catching its audience off guard and creating a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat atmosphere. If you haven’t seen The Game, you have no idea what you’ve been missing.
The Game follows the life of Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas), an extremely wealthy San Francisco banker, living in an opulent estate just outside of the city. But Nicholas is not a happy man. He generally spends his time alone, the exception being when he spends time with his clients brokering lucrative business deals. Nicholas even spends his birthday alone, and on his forty-eighth birthday, he is forced to reflect on the fact that his father committed suicide at the same age.
However this year, Nicholas’s birthday takes an unexpected twist when his estranged younger brother Conrad (Sean Penn) arrives unannounced at the Van Orton estate. A former drug addict involved in all sorts of nefarious schemes in the past, Nicholas remains skeptical of the true motives behind his brother’s return. However, Conrad soon manages to convince Nicholas that his only reason for returning is to provide his lonely, boring brother with a birthday present he’ll never forget. So what exactly is the gift?
It’s a very expensive entertainment package provided by a firm called Consumer Recreation Services (CRS). Curious as to what sort of entertainment they provide, Nicholas visits CRS where he undergoes a series of mental, physical, and psychological tests to make sure he can handle what they offer. In return, CRS agrees to customize the adventure of a lifetime for Nicholas, just as they do for famous and wealthy executives all over the globe.
But following this initial testing phase, a series of strange occurrences take place and each is followed by a number of seemingly horrendous events. As a result, Nicholas must make use of his intellect and his instincts in order to survive. Fearing the events are part of a misguiding sense of humor on the part of the employees at CRS, Nicholas arrives at their office building prepared to cancel the entertainment package. But to his dismay, the office space is vacant and the landlord has never even heard of CRS. Even worse, Nicholas finds out that every financial account he owns has been wiped clean and that a criminal organization has been pulling similar heists on wealthy industrialists all over the world. Uncertain of his future, Nicholas sets out to discover the truth, and in doing so, he finds out the truth about himself.
Far from a blockbuster commercial success following its initial release in 1997, The Game is an unknown entity among most casual movie watchers. As such, those who stumble upon The Game will be duly impressed with the quality of this cinematic gem. Featuring two show-stopping performances by Michael Douglas and Sean Penn, The Game is an instant fan favorite among those who’ve seen it. Boasting one of the more suspense-riddled screenplays of the past decade, The Game is pure Hollywood entertainment at its best, featuring an abundance of drama, suspense, and action/adventure all pulled together by ingenious “what if” plotline.
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