"What do you get for the man who has everything'"--Conrad Van Orton (Sean Penn) to his brother, Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) "'Consumer Recreation Services.' Well, I do have golf clubs...."--Nicholas "Call that number."--Conrad "Why'"--Nicholas "Make your life...fun."--Conrad "Fun."--Nicholas "You know what that is...you've seen other people have it."
"I'm being toyed with by a bunch of depraved children."
"I don't care about the money. I'm pulling back the curtain. I want to meet the wizard."
USA Today - 09/12/1997
"...Michael Douglas again proves himself one of the most watchable actors on the big screen in THE GAME..."
New York Times - 09/12/1997
"...[Mr. Fincher] has made THE GAME with impressive craftsmanship and a very high gloss....This film sustains visual allure on several levels..."
Los Angeles Times - 09/12/1997
"...A brain-twisting thriller....Fincher has the touch of Hitchcock when it comes to creating tension and suspense..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 09/12/1997
"...The movie's thriller elements are given an additional gloss by the skill of the technical credits, and the wicked wit of the dialogue..."
Total Film - 03/01/2001
"...Douglas gives a potentially clinical plot credibility and heart, while Fincher buffs can marvel at the sheer visual drama..."
Total Film - 06/01/2006 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]f you're interested in filmmaking craft, there's gristle here, while the main feature retains its power to needle and unnerve."
Entertainment Weekly - 11/25/2011
"[A]n underappreciated puzzle-piece thriller....Sean Penn is terrifically low-key..." -- Grade: B+
For the follow-up to his dark crime thriller SEVEN, director David Fincher decided to remain in a film noir vein. The result is THE GAME, a fast-paced cinematic roller-coaster ride that stars Michael Douglas as Nicholas Van Orton, a joyless San Francisco investment banker who receives an unusual birthday present from his estranged younger brother, Conrad (Sean Penn). The gift enrolls Nicholas in CRS (Consumer Recreation Services), a company that designs elaborate real-life games for each specific participant. As the game begins, the reluctant Nicholas becomes the victim of a series of pranks that quickly turn malicious and dangerous. Stripped of his finances and convinced that he can trust no one, Nicholas realizes that this game may be an attempt to steal his fortune and leave him for dead. In a desperate bid to regain his life, Nicholas infiltrates CRS in order to uncover the secrets of the mysterious organization.
Douglas is perfect playing the uptight businessman Nicholas, cleverly riffing on his Oscar-winning performance as the cold-blooded Gordon Gekko in WALL STREET. Fincher's Kafkaesque carnival show is an exercise in taut filmmaking that mischievously pulls a seemingly endless supply of rugs out from under both Nicholas and, even more impressive, the viewer.
Filmed at various locations in California and Baja California, Mexico.
Sean Penn appeared in three major films in 1997--THE GAME, SHE'S SO LOVELY, and U-TURN. Before these films, his only screen appearance since 1993 was his Oscar-nominated performance as a death-row inmate in DEAD MAN WALKING.
Jodie Foster was originally going to appear in the film, but complications with another commitment led to her dropping out. A few year later, however, Foster signed on to star in Fincher's THE PANIC ROOM after Nicole Kidman left the project because of an injury.
Director-actor Spike Jonze appears briefly as an emergency medical technician. In return, David Fincher makes a cameo in Jonze's BEING JOHN MALKOVICH.