The Game

1997 / TV

SF elements

role playing


Stuffy banker Nicholas Von Orton [Michael Douglas] is given a strange present by his brother Conrad [Sean Penn]: a voucher for a "reality game". Once the game starts, however, his life rapidly descends into nightmare -- it seems the game masters are really conmen after his millions.

This is fun in a mindless sort of way. It has some resonances with the 1988 TV series The One Game , but with no fantasy overtones, and some with eXistenZ , but with no VR overtones. Here the question isn't so much what is real as who is real , more a sort of Mission: Impossible from the victim's viewpoint. It takes only a few seconds thought to make you wonder how such a successful businessman could make so many bad decisions, and how the games masters could be sure he'd do what he did, as their plan is very delicately balanced. But if you sternly forbid those few seconds thought, it's a very slick bit of fun.

Rating: 4

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 7 March 2004