In The Game, Michael Douglas plays Nicholas Van Orton, a wealthy tycoon who, despite his successes in the world of business, lives a life of lonely solitude estranged from friends and family. In a surprise visit during Nicholas’ 48th birthday, Nicholas’ brother, Conrad, (Sean Penn) gives Nicholas a gift certificate for a “game” provided by a firm called “Consumer Recreation Services”. Conrad insists that the “game” will be beyond Nicholas’ imagination and will make for radically positive changes in his life. Although he is skeptical at first, Nicholas eventually concedes to curiosity and visits the CRS office. Unsure what to expect, Nicholas returns home and the events of “the game” begin to unfold. What ensues is truly a tour de force by an excellent filmmaking team.
Directed by David Fincher and photographed by Harris Savides, The Game is satisfying at every turn. Beyond cinematic thrills and harrowing twists, The Game is a clear look directly at a character that is forced to confront the inertia of his past deeds. As the events of the game progress and push Nicholas further in confronting himself and his past actions, we see that though the events themselves are empty, Nicholas is driven to near break down in suffering their consequences. We see quite clearly in The Game that although we cannot control what happens in a particular moment, if we take a step back, and ask our selves where the events of that moment are coming from we may well be able to react in a way that will make for a more positive future. In fact, we might even find that all the events in our life are part of an elaborate game constructed for our very own benefit, just maybe.