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The Game [HD DVD]
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Product Description

Universal The Game (HD-DVD)
There are no rules in "The Game." And that will make life very difficult for Nicholas Van Orton, a successful businessman who is always in control. Van Orton lives a well-ordered life - until an unexpected birthday gift from his brother destroys it all. Like it or not, Nicholas has been enrolled in a game - "a profound life experience" that begins quietly but soon erupts in a rush of devastating events. Van Orton has to win this deadly game or lose control of everything in his life.

It's not quite as clever as it tries to be, but The Game does a tremendous job of presenting the story of a rigid control freak trapped in circumstances that are increasingly beyond his control. Michael Douglas plays a rich, divorced, and dreadful investment banker whose 48th birthday reminds him of his father's suicide at the same age. He's locked in the cage of his own misery until his rebellious younger brother (Sean Penn) presents him with a birthday invitation to play "The Game" (described as "an experiential Book of the Month Club")--a mysterious offering from a company called Consumer Recreation Services. Before he knows the game has even begun, Douglas is caught up in a series of unexplained events designed to strip him of his tenuous security and cast him into a maelstrom of chaos. How do you play a game that hasn't any rules? That's what Douglas has to figure out, and he can't always rely on his intelligence to form logic out of what's happening to him. Seemingly cast as the fall guy in a conspiracy thriller, he encounters a waitress (Deborah Unger) who may or may not be trustworthy, and nothing can be taken at face value in a world turned upside down. Douglas is great at conveying the sheer panic of his character's dilemma, and despite some lapses in credibility and an anticlimactic ending, The Game remains a thinking person's thriller that grabs and holds your attention. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews:

  • The initiation of a millionaire
    Nicholas Van Orton (Douglas) thinks that he has everything - this is true only is we consider material possessions (a vast house, millions of dollars, an enviable reputation, etc.). What he is lacking is the access to the sacred and to his true Self. CRS is there to help, courtesy of his brother Conrad (Penn). But Van Orton will have to get rid of all that he previously stood for and accept to lose himself in the unknown. While some viewers have objected to the film's outrageous events and progression, this is precisely what draws me to it: its willingness to dispense with 'believable' developments makes Van Orton's quest all the more powerful. The movie could have been subtitled 'The initiation of a millionaire', because Van Orton undergoes numerous archetypal trials: he is stuck in a car underwater (in the belly of the monster); he is buried alive; his descensus ad infernos is such that he (literally) has to make a death-defying jump in a garbage dump; he has to find his way through mazes and use secret keys; most scenes take place in darkness. By the time he becomes a new man late in the movie, he has already died three or four times! Perceptive viewers will discover far more than a strandard thriller here, if they allow themselves to dig under the surface... a remarkable film....more info
  • One of my top 10 favorite movies
    I really like Michael Douglas, & he doesn't disappoint in this suspense thriller. If you love movies that keep you on the edge of your seat this movie delivers!...more info
  • Powerful Message....
    "The Game" is Michael Douglas at his finest in his portrayal as a Type A workaholic at the top of his game.

    His somewhat underachieving brother, portrayed by Sean Penn, gives Douglas a birthday gift in the form of a "game" where reality takes a dive and Douglas' life goes into a spin. Although there were a few areas that were a little hard to follow - the premise of this reality game is so imaginative and real. It is only when Douglas hits rock bottom that he realizes how isolated from the real world he has become and what is truly important in life.

    I thought this movie was insightful and masterful. I watch it frequently and it always delivers a powerful message....more info

  • Birthday that you'll never forget
    Can you imagen a movie with no victims and yet it's one of the best thrillers ever made?! When I heard that director is David Fincher who is responsible for hits such as Seven or Fight Club and that Michael Douglas has leading role, that was more than enough for me to buy it. And I didn't regret it: This film is one wild ride through every aspect of your mind. Just in the moment you think - It's all clear now, next one will leave you with your mouths open. Every scene is one big surprice for you and for main character Nicholas, who is cold rich businessman, who cutted all bonds between him and his family and friends just for power and more money. But his brother's present for his birthday will change everything. One moment, he's on the top of the world, next one he is down in rags, fearing for his life; confused and with no confidence in anyone. That is the price when you are in The Game. Michael prooved that he worths dozen Oscars and Sean Penn is also very good. If you like fast, confusing and surpricing thrillers, this is a movie for you. Note: Ending is unforgetable!!!...more info
  • One of my Top 10!!!
    I love this movie! Fascinating, thought provoking, twisting, and unique. I really enjoy watching it again just to think about the whole concept and if I missed anything....more info
  • Tour de Force for Michael Douglas
    This is movie is one wild ride. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire length of this film. Michael Douglas is perfect as a man caught in a living nightmare of disbelief and confusion. To give too many details way would be unfair. THE GAME is a gripping experience.
    ...more info
  • Interesting and Different
    This is a fascinating movie; of course, it's necessary to accept the extremely unreal premise of a wealthy and privileged multi-millionaire going along with a "game?that takes everything away form him, but once that is accepted, it's very entertaining.

    In fact, I would say that the movie follows the "hero's journey?of mythology. An individual has his life completely transformed as he is stripped of everything and forced to confront a world where nothing is certain and everything is turned upside down. Nicholas Van Orton is a successful investment banker whose life is perfectly ordered. Then his brother gives him a "gift??a game that will throw him into a nightmare world. Small things become symbolic: at one point, the impeccably dressed executive loses his thousand dollar shoes, which are pulled from his feet. The man who wears $3,000 suits and $200 ties is now barefoot. He is symbolically stripped of his staus and freedom as well: In the ancient world, only slaves went barefoot, as a symbol of their status. The banker, once arrogant and well-dressed, is now the barefoot slave of the Game.

    I was suspicious of the theme of theme of the humiliation of the "cold-hearted white male businessman? which is endlessly repeated in films, but this movie was different, and I did enjoy it....more info

  • Done Better on THE TWILIGHT ZONE
    I like Michael Douglas but this movie is ludicrous. It seems very similar to an episode of THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE of the 80s and it was done a lot better there. Basically the game could have been done in 30 minutes. After waiting through this entire film and to be handed such a ridiculous ending is not really dignified. Michael Douglas and the viewer deserved better. ...more info
  • Thrilling...!
    One of Michael Douglas's least appreciated films, The Game is an intriguing movie dripping with suspense. With an intensity which few films can rival, The Game quickly moves from one surprising scene to the next, always catching its audience off guard and creating a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat atmosphere. If you haven't seen The Game, you have no idea what you've been missing...

    Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is an extremely wealthy San Francisco banker, living in an opulent estate just outside of the city. But Nicholas is not a happy man. He generally spends his time alone, the exception being when he spends time with his clients brokering lucrative business deals. Nicholas even spends his birthday alone, and on his forty-eighth birthday, Nicholas is forced to reflect on the fact that his father committed suicide at the same age.

    But this year, Nicholas's birthday takes an unexpected twist when his estranged younger brother Conrad (Sean Penn) arrives unannounced at the Van Orton estate. A former drug addict involved in all sorts of nefarious schemes in the past, Nicholas remains skeptical of the true reasons for his brother's return. However, Conrad soon manages to convince Nicholas that his only reason for returning is to give his lonely, boring brother a birthday present he'll never forget. What exactly is the gift?

    It's a very expensive entertainment package provided by a firm called Consumer Recreation Services (CRS). Curious as to what sort of entertainment they provide, Nicholas visits CRS where he undergoes a series of mental, physical, and psychological tests to make sure he can handle what they offer. In return, CRS agrees to customize the adventure of a lifetime for Nicholas - as they do for famous and wealthy executives all over the globe...

    But when strange things start to take place and those are followed by seemingly horrendous events, Nicholas must make use of his intellect and his instincts in order to survive. Afraid the events are part of a misguiding sense of humor on the part of the employees at CRS, Nicholas arrives at their office building prepared to cancel the entertainment package. But to his dismay, the office space is vacant and the landlord has never heard of CRS. Even worse, Nicholas finds out that every financial account he owns has been wiped clean and that a criminal organization has been pulling similar heists on wealthy industrialists all over the world. Uncertain of his future, Nicholas sets out to get to the bottom of the truth, and in doing so, he finds out the truth about himself...

    Far from a blockbuster commercial success when it was first released in 1997, The Game is an unknown entity among most casual movie watchers. As such, those who stumble upon The Game will be duly impressed with the quality of this cinematic gem. Featuring two show-stopping performances by Michael Douglas and Sean Penn, The Game is an instant fan favorite among those who've seen it. Boasting one of the more suspense riddled screenplays of the past decade, The Game is a definite must-see film you won't want to miss...

    The DVD Report...more info
  • Duck and Cover
    Run for your life. That's the idea here. Run before you have no identity left. This is a mesmerizing and spellbinding movie. Michael Douglas is outstanding.
    ...more info
  • A Movie You Can Only See Once
    David Fincher's 1997 suspense-thriller regarding an obsessive man's (Michael Douglas) efforts at escaping the threats of an out-of-control entertainment/service firm. The film's momentum is based entirely on mystery; the suspense building up with each of the main character's unexplainable predicaments which seem to have no rhyme or reason. Although the story is well crafted with plenty of mystery, this is the sort of film you can only see once because the mystery is completely resolved in the end and leaves no surprises.

    Michael Douglas is a wealthy executive whose life is plagued by the vivid memories of his father's suicide. The tragedy has left him a control freak whose relations with his family and friends are strained at best. His brother (Sean Penn) invites him to play an undefined game offered by Consumer Recreation Services, a service firm. Michael Douglas' character soon finds himself entangled in a bizzare criminal scheme that he cannot fathom. How will he get out of this nightmare?

    Again, this is a great suspense-thriller to watch only once. All of the dangling questions are resolved at the end of the film thereby removing any suspense upon the second viewing. A great movie to rent but it would be a waste of money to own it....more info
  • A story of personal transformation
    Reading some of the reviews here what seems missing is what I believe is the essential theme of this work --- personal transformation. Michael Douglas' character is trapped, or to be more precise stuck. He is stuck at a level of personal development (mean spirited, suspicious, cynical, isolated and alone --- he is an Investment Banker) in which he is intensely dissatisfied with himself and all around him. Though he does not realize it, he must move beyond his current "self" if he is to realize his full (though currently latent) potential as a human being. His brother - Sean Penn - realizes this and hence gives him a "game" for his birthday - since Penn the "black sheep" of the family had had a game given to him by some unnamed character and it had helped "awaken" him to a new self.

    The game is the necessary transformative vehicle for Douglas' character which forces a reassessment of himself and his outlook on life --- but only through a complete breakdown and displacement of his current self and his connection with the world that he had made --- and had in turn now trapped him.

    It is through the ensuing trauma and the culminating attempted suicide that allows him to emerge "reborn" and with a new outlook and new "self". Thus the climactic and happy ending with the well wishers at his birthday party in spite of the fact that a moment ago he had just "murdered" his brother and leapt to his "death".

    What this movie portrays is the classical mythological journey of trial and trauma where the old self is destroyed and a new self emerges like a beautiful butterfly from an ugly caterpillar....more info
  • A Hollywood Insult
    Put your imagination on hold, place your intellect on the shelf, and maybe, just maybe, you might enjoy this movie. lt is perhaps the most contrived shlock film with the most ludicrous plot and the most impossible events and occurrences of any film l've ever seen in the past 60 years. lf you don't shake your head in despair by the middle of this muddle, you are probably not a film buff. And if you don't burst out laughing at the incredulous conclusion, you qualify for the "Edd Wood Award For Puerility". Shame on the writer, producer, director & studio!...more info
  • Frenetic and Frustrating
    GAME is both frenetic and frustrating. This film is on the edge of your seat entertainment. Twist and turns abound. However, your level of frustration may rise along with that of Michael Douglas as every avenue is cut off to him in his daily life as he finds himself placed in a situation in which he must survive for his life. How will it end? Hopefully the film's denouement lives up to its unnerving pace.
    ...more info
  • The Movie Is Great..However...
    First of all, "The Game" is an awesome and exciting thriller of a movie. I highly recommend checking it out.

    However..I purchased this movie for a hearing impaired relative of mine based on the fact that Amazon's Product Details description CLEARLY states..

    Subtitles: English, Spanish.

    There are in fact NO English subtitles, but only Spanish. And my relative now has a movie that is totally useless to her!

    I think Amazon needs to print their product details based on correct facts so that other buyers won't make the same misinformed mistake....more info
  • Thriller!
    This movie is honestly filled with plot twist after plot twist . . and you don't even see it coming. By the end of this movie you'll be so tense your fingernails will be gripping the couch cushions....more info
  • This Movie Is A Trip
    Michael Douglas is Nicholas Van Orton. He is a stuffy uptight business man who gets an unexpected birthday gift from his brother played by Sean Penn. Nicholas goes to find out more about this mysterious gift without the knowledge that the gift has already begun to take over his life. As he finds more and more strange happenings occuring in his life he does suspect that this game has started. He never authorized these people to start the game so of course he is wondering what the hell is going on. As the game continues he loses control over all his personal belongings such as bank accounts, work related issues, and his home. He meets different people that he cant really trust. Will Nicholas continue playing this game or just give up. Who is behind the game? ...more info
  • Edge of your seat type movie!
    This is your typical Michael Douglas style movie. One that you cannot take a bathroom break, because the plot is constantly changing.Truly an "Edge of your seat movie". Five stars... without a doubt. ...more info
  • Frenetic and Frustrating
    THE GAME is both frenetic and frustrating. This film is on the edge of your seat entertainment. Twist and turns abound. However, your level of frustration may rise along with that of Michael Douglas as every avenue is cut off to him in his daily life as he finds himself placed in a situation in which he must survive for his life. How will it end? Hopefully the film's denouement lives up to its unnerving pace as you view it.

    Sean Penn's role was a bit of a throw away part but essential I suppose. Howard Shore did compose an interesting score and Writer Michael Ferris did try and come up with something intriguing but Director David Fincher really could not deliver it effectively.
    ...more info
  • The game .....the game is money!
    I like this movie a lot! but unless they are putting some extras in here i will continue watching my Burned DVD!

    i dont understand why a lot of HD disc are barebones!! even if the standard dvd release has some?

    ...more info
  • Dumb Movie
    I like Michael Douglas but this movie is ludicrous. It seems very similar to an episode of THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE of the 80s and it was done a lot better there. Basically the game could have been done in 30 minutes. After waiting through this entire film and to be handed such a ridiculous ending is not really dignified. Michael Douglas and the viewer deserved better. ...more info
  • Nicholas Van Orton in Acrylic ...

    Now apply heat to the canvas ...

    Some of the best storytelling, historically, starts off with a quick preface of sorts that gives some foreshadow or insight into something that's going to unfold in front of you in a very insidious way. Most of the time, the majority of observers and readers never see any of it coming. And that's always the point of it, too.

    In the case of `The Game', I think it's safe to say now that no one saw any of it coming and there was nothing predictable about what David Fincher was trying to pull off. Those that say something to the contrary are probably lying to save face. Those folks might also tell you that they saw Bruce Willis being dead in `The Six Sense', too. Don't get mad if I spoiled it for you with either film, it's been over a decade for both - you should've seen it.

    So what kind of a mind would even think to envision something as dark as CRS and all that follows? Fincher pulls out all the stops and beats the viewer with a stick from the first moment to the very end. And to his credit and not detriment, either. Fascination with the Godon Gecko archetype is about as timely now as any other time in history. I can see this film making a comeback of sorts either on cable or as a touchstone, with perhaps even a follow-up production to come.

    The question is: "What binds us together?" -- Money? Reputation? Class division? Gold-plated lifestyle? Family? Love? Death? Apathy? It's a very simple question that leads us down a dark road to a very complicated answer with Sean Penn screaming at us in frustration. It's almost like a dream, or a nightmare depending on how you see the world. The idea of tinkering with a person's framework of mortality and whittling away at it slowly is enough to send the most hardened minds into a state of panic. Dead parents, suicide, invasion of privacy, paranoia, blackmail, embezzlement and so on. Watching the master of controlled emotions have his most epiphanic meltdown may be one of the great silver screen performances of all time, just because the emotions are so well documented. Peel away everything, at your expense, and let's see what's left is really the knock-out blow.

    Every time I watch this film with someone, I always catch folks wiping their eyes because of the ending. This kind of emotional response is normal with this film and be prepared for several of them throughout. Critics often say the ending is cheap and creates problems with the storyline, but they're just upset at being forced into an emotional state.

    The film opened during dark days and was derailed during its scheduled release because of the death of Princess Diana. Anyone with a subscription to the Los Angeles Times archives can go back and read the articles that covered the demise of the film, which was well-documented.

    The film slipped through the theatres almost unnoticed and then vanished. The buzz was minimal but it did leave a lasting impression. I would bet more folks saw it on cable than anywhere else. People then talked about the idea of the film as something very novel and very original. IMDb message boards are full of requests from viewers to list other films that are like it. The lists are short. But several people through the millennia since have noted that John Fowles book `The Magus' is the unofficial originator. Having read the book, I don't believe it is, but there are similarities for sure and it's a very worthy and forgotten read to say the least.

    Masterpiece of film? Yeah. Overlooked? Yeah. A worthy sequel from Fincher? Hope so....more info