Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: The Game (1997): Fincher Flips Mission: Impossible on Its Head

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Game (1997): Fincher Flips Mission: Impossible on Its Head

by Tony Dayoub

Long unavailable (domestically) in a proper home edition, David Fincher's unsung puzzle thriller The Game finally gets its due this week thanks to Criterion's shiny new Blu-ray upgrade of their own 1998 laserdisc release. The new Criterion release confirms that Fincher's film—and its hokey premise of a 1-percenter put through his paces in a punishing experiential game—plays as well if not better than it did when I first saw it theatrically fifteen years ago. After all, is there any way to watch Michael Douglas' shallow, well bespoke Nicholas Van Orton—a lonely investment tycoon with a pile of human debris (an ex-wife, a recovering addict for a brother) left behind in his wake—and not think of Mitt Romney? Especially in one scene where his car gets a flat, and he asks his ne'er-do-well brother Conrad (Sean Penn), "Do you know how to change a tire?" Van Orton’s investment banking career, the way he addresses his underlings, his slicked-back hair and expensive taste in suits . . . even his pinky ring, all reek of a privileged upbringing. Then there’s the long, powerful shadow cast by his late father. Van Orton’s similarities with Romney rob him of a little of the sympathy I'd normally reserve for a movie protagonist.


1 comment:

Patrick said...

What a bizarre comparison. It's fine not to be for Romney for political reasons, but from what I've heard, he is a generous person, some hands on charitable stuff (as opposed to just writing a check) and also instilled that attitude in his sons. So I'm not sure where you are getting that comparison.