Playing ‘The Game’ on Its 20th Anniversary – David Fincher’s 1997 Film Still Holds Up

Posted on September 12th, 2017 by Joshua Meyer
/Film

More than any other mainstream filmmaker, David Fincher is the one who has had his finger on the pulse of our generational concerns. If you Google Fincher’s name and the word “zeitgeist,” it will immediately turn up countless think pieces talking about how his films — especially Fight Club and The Social Network — have captured the zeitgeist, reflecting the spirit of their time the way The Graduate did for the 1960s.

But The Game, Fincher’s 1997 thriller starring Michael Douglas, was a necessary primer for Fight Club. With this film, Fincher took the actor who played Gordon Gekko ten years earlier, and he gave that ‘80s zeitgeist figure a light makeover and put him in a post-grunge ‘90s movie.

The Game turns 20 today (it hit theaters on September 12, 1997), so let’s take a look back at what makes it so special: not only for the way it marked a turning point in Fincher’s early career, but also for the way it takes a high-concept story and manages to bake in a fair amount of subtext.

Read the full article

20 Years Later, ‘The Game’ Is Still David Fincher’s Most Underrated Movie

Colin Biggs
September 12, 2017
ScreenCrush

“I don’t care about the money. I’m pulling back the curtain. I want to meet the wizard.”

Michael Douglas’ disheveled Nicholas Van Orton is one of the most powerful men in the United States, so why is he holding a man hostage and demanding answers? When David Fincher’s The Game came out in 1997, it was received as a control freak’s nightmare. A vision that could only have come from the mind of one of cinema’s most talented young directors. Today, Consumer Recreation Services could be any company on the street. With unlimited access to data from social media and emails, a small group of technicians could manufacture their own reality. In a time of alt-facts, when the nature of truth is constantly up for debate, The Game feels far more significant than its reputation as middle-tier a David Fincher project.

Read the full article

Fear Itself: David Fincher’s THE GAME At 20

Twenty years later, Jacob revisits the master filmmaker’s technically accomplished dissertation on anxiety and desire.

By Jacob Knight
Sep. 12, 2017
Birth. Movies. Death.

When David Fincher was pitching his adaptation of Spider-Man during the ’90s, the key element that ruled out his take with studio execs was the refusal to execute another feature length origin tale. In Fincher’s version, our friendly neighborhood web-head was going to have his backstory explained via an opening mini-operetta, which would get his superhero coming of age out of the way so the fastidious Hollywood technician could tell the story he wanted to tell. This idiosyncratic approach rubbed suits the wrong way, but was repurposed for The Game (’97), Fincher’s Hitchcockian follow-up to the smash bit of serial killer morbidity, Seven (’95).

We’re introduced to Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) via a series of home movies. It’s Nicholas’ birthday party at his family’s lavish estate, and the kid is all half-assed smirks, the sparks of candles placed on an unseen cake illuminating his face like fireworks. Yet whenever his father is around, Nicholas tenses; the patriarch’s distant gazes and unsubtle grimaces casting a long shadow over what should’ve been a festive day. This is all foreshadowing; letting us know exactly what type of man Nicholas is going to turn out to be. There’s no radioactive spider, or magical transformation. Genes are all that’s required to transmute Mr. Van Orton into a shadow of his soon to be suicidal father – an ultimate, and probably unavoidable, fate.

Read the full article

David Fincher’s “The Game” Turns 20

by Chris Evangelista
September 7, 2017
RogerEbert.com, Balder & Dash

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.’”

Read the full article

New “Mindhunter” Teaser Looking Like Another Masterpiece from David Fincher

Wake
September 6, 2017
TVOvermind

If you’re going to go hunting crazy people you’d best check your sanity at the door and secure your firearm to your hip. Mindhunter is already looking like it might be the next masterpiece to come out and it’s not even here yet. Entering the mind of a psychopath is, I would imagine, much like entering a store in which the food looks appetizing and fresh but is rotten inside, and there’s an especially wide drain in the floor that can accept just about anything that might fall down it. Disturbing yet? That’s not even the start.

Read the full article

The Game Turns 20: A Retrospective of David Fincher’s Overlooked Gem

By Rory Cashin
(September 5, 2017)
JOE

In the grand scheme of David Fincher’s career, The Game is the one that gets forgotten about the most.

Not an odd misfire like Alien 3 or Benjamin Button, not one of his killer thrillers like Se7en, Gone Girl or Dragon Tattoo, not one of his instant classics like Zodiac or Fight Club, and not one where he just felt like shown off like Fight Club or Panic Room.

Read the full article

Gone Girl: One Long Frightening Climax

Posted by Tyler Heberle | Sep 1, 2017
Audiences Everywhere

People’s willingness to rebrand themselves as monsters without remorse is an alarming, puzzling trend of modern society. It may be hard to find an explanation outside of human selfishness and narcissism, traits director David Fincher has made a career out of depicting and deconstructing. He’s conjured timelessly horrific hellscapes where serial killers blend right in with films like Se7en and Zodiac, and hit a more socially applicable nerve tearing down self-righteous white male privilege in 1999’s Fight Club. But his most haunting and refined work ties directly into the anxieties of this decade—that of social media and all the opportunities it provides to forge new identities. With The Social Network, Fincher showed a social outcast turn into a trailblazing tech celebrity while losing friends and being fueled by spite toward his ex-girlfriend. His under-appreciated follow-up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo saw a more selfless social outcast seeking personal love and acceptance for the first time, only to have her hopes crushed and resume a life of indifference.

Gone Girl, the 2014 adaptation of a bestselling paperback thriller, feels like the inevitably demented amalgamation of questions Fincher proposed in Network and Tattoo. Are there new consequences to controversial or intimate information being immediately shared to the public? Can one convincingly build a new persona strictly from their online or media perceptions? In the third installment of what could reasonably be called Fincher’s “tech trilogy,” the answer to both is a resounding yes—one stained by blood and deceit.

Read the full article