Investment banker Nicholas Van Orton has come to Christine’s home for answers. His entire life is coming apart at the seams, ever since he signed up for a life-altering game courtesy of the mysterious Consumer Recreation Services. He thinks Christine, a waitress he met seemingly by accident, might know something. With endless resources and a borderline ludicrous number of extra players, CRS has made Nicholas untrusting of nearly everything and everyone. Once inside Christine’s home, Nicholas slowly begins to realize the apartment is not really an apartment at all, but a set. The lamp still has a thrift store tag on it; the books on the shelves are false fronts; the water line isn’t hooked up. It’s all been staged for his benefit.
On the commentary track for the Criterion Collection release, director David Fincher reveals that when reading the script, this exact moment is what sold him on making the film. “That’s when I said, ‘I gotta see this, I gotta make this movie.’”