Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Game

My rating: 4/10

After being impressed with David Fincher's dark film noir, 'Seven', I expected great things from this. What I got however, was an impressive, original idea, and an intriguing mystery all carried out with an unimpressive script and a big lack of momentum.

In 'The Game' we are presented with an uptight businessman Nicholas, (Michael Douglas) who after being given an unusual birthday present by his less than average brother (Sean Penn) becomes the player in a very extreme, real life game. As the game unfolds we see Nicholas's slow descent into the mind of a paranoid madman.

As you can see, the idea retains a great amount of originality and sounds like the perfect mixture for an intense thriller. I wish that I could say that this is what is delivered. It starts off very slow in an attempt to set us up with Nicholas's character. Although it is necessary to see Nicholas's mundane uptight lifestyle, this becomes pretty mundane to watch. Flash forward several long minutes later and the game begins. At this point, we see Nicholas receiving a key through the elaborate use of a clown outside his house as well as instructions on the rules of the game.

Once the action starts properly, the film feels very promising. However as it begins to unfold, it just becomes a bit boring and not that engaging. Whereas with 'Seven' the intrigue and chase of the film leaves you in a state of anticipation as to what is going to happen next, The Game manages to bare no such resemblance. It became fairly predictable and was frustrating how Nicholas's character kept changing. One minute his house had been broken into and although freaked out, he seemed pretty aware that this had something to do with the game. As the audience this made me aware of everything else and how anything could be part of his game - something that it seemed Nicholas had already worked out. Nicholas's however didn't seem to retain this sense of wariness even though we had already seen these snippets of his madness. This is one of the factors that I found hard to believe. His character is an investment banker, and so trust is something that he cannot afford to rely on too much in his job. However he seemed pretty quick to trust those he didn't even know. It seemed to take him far too long to get to the point where he didn't feel he could trust anyone.

I was quite impressed with the way it ended. I have to admit that I had been fooled as well. However for me, it seemed a far too elaborate scheme just to try and teach him a lesson. I mean, I think if I had been through an ordeal of being shipped off to a foreign place, thinking my whole life had been destroyed, thinking I'd shot my own brother and then being so messed up I wanted to kill myself in the same way my dad had done, that someone simply saying "It was all a game" just wouldn't really cut it. I fail to understand why this would make you relieved and suddenly absorb the insanity that had newly spouted. Fair enough, it certainly would teach you a lesson not to be so uptight, but I think that the rest of your life would be spent recovering and being in a constant state of paranoia. I just didn't find it believable at all.

So overall, although I did enjoy the actual concept and SOME of the 'thrill', I think it was executed very poorly and it seems like the writer was more concerned with 'wowing' the audience with the twist, that they lost all sight of the other details that should have been important to this film.

Lucky Number Slevin

My rating: 7/10

I have to say that for saying when I watched this I hadn't really heard much about it, that I was very impressed!

McGuigan's thriller depicts a mistaken identity scenario in which we see our protagonist, Slevin (Josh Hartnett) mistaken for someone else by two powerful mob bosses. To say much more would be too telling of the plot so I will refrain from revealing any more.

This film paints a very complex idea onto an intelligent script. It maintains clever dialogue that allows our attention to be held throughout its entirety. Ok, so I will admit that although engaging some of the wordy dialogue used does seem a bit unnecessary. It comes across as if it's trying too hard to be sophisticated and clever when really it doesn't need to be as the rest of the film gives it its elegance.

I really enjoyed the direction and cinematography within this film. It has a real beautiful, elegant Sin City feel to it that allows the visual vibrancy to remain engaging. It maintains a quick pace and an air of swiftness is shown between each shot that draws a parallel to the smooth nature of our main character, Slevin.

Slevin's character is great. He is a really charismatic, likeable guy that makes it fun for us to watch and gives us a want to help him. He is a smooth talker but also reatains the form of a clumsy happy-go-lucky person. On our first introduction of him we immediately form empathy as we see his bad day go from worse to catastrophically disastrous. It seems an important thing to be able to feel this for him so immediately as our relationship with Slevin is important, although we don't necessarily understand this importance until the end.

Lucky # Slevin is a very engaging film. The major theme "mistaken identity" in which it draws on is done so on so many levels and we are demonstrated this in a physical, metaphoric and personal way. The cast is great, seeing the likes of Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis, Ben Kingsley, Josh Hartnett and Lucy Lou all performing to a great standard. It is a really good visual film to see and gives you so much to think about throughout that you are completely drawn into its world.

I was very impressed with what I saw as prior I did not have that high expectations and I definitely think that the camera tricks and editing will become even better on a second viewing since I will already understand the plot!