The late 90's saw a run of films which deconstructed the idea that reality was an illusion; THE TRUMAN SHOW, THE MATRIX, DARK CITY all explored this theme in some way but David Fincher's 1997 THE GAME is the most paranoid of all of them. Michael Douglas is superb as affluent control freak Nicholas van Orton who finds himself involved in a conspiracy when brother Conrad gives him a gift certificate for the blandly-named Consumer Recreation Services promising a "profound life experience".
Some typically great Fincher filmatism coupled with the expert pacing provided by editor James Haywood and the saturated cinematography of Harris Savides, this is a gripping and intriguing thriller which relies on a constant stream of narrative invention to throw its audience off guard, sometimes establishing characters as unreliable and then challenging that view within the same scene. Yes the plot goes off the rails in terms of plausibility by the time we get to the unforgettable ending but does it really matter when a film can build so much mood and tension and subvert your expectations this well, even after having seen it a few times? Earns an extra star for somehow making me want the torture of a wealthy investment banker to stop.
Sidey: Hello rigs.
Reegs: Hi. Hello.
I'm right. Yeah. How are you?
Dan: Very well, all the better for seeing you here for a midweek.
Dan: this is exciting stuff because,
Sidey: well, I think it's the start of a theme potentially.
Reegs: Yeah. Themed week around video games.
Dan: this was one that I remember seeing. dunno, probably closer to the time it came out.
Sidey: 1997? Yeah. 97. I saw it on home video. But like as soon as it was available on home video.
Reegs: yeah, yeah, yeah. It's the game.
Dan: Michael Douglas.
Reegs: Yeah. David Fincher
Dan: And and Sean Penn. I know, I know, but he's in it.
Sidey: He is. Yeah.
Reegs: this was one of, one of a sort of slew of late nineties reality benders that, you know, posited that the world around you, wasn't real in some way, like the Truman show and the matrix and dark city and this movie.
And yeah, it's a, it's a sort of paranoid, thriller.
Dan: Yeah. It, and I like the way that they've done that because you're right. They have put in this upsetting world with this world that isn't quite what everything seems, but they brought in almost into a corporate level where you actually buy a game that you, you charge for this entertainment. And
Give very little away before you actually start playing it.
So what happens is Michael Douglas is what is, what's his name? Vander O Vander.
Reegs: Nicholas van Aton,
Dan: Nicholas van Orton owns the building.
Reegs: Wait, there is that, hang on. That's Millhouse van Howton
Sidey: No is van Autum
Reegs: is van Aton,
Sidey: and Conrad. Conrad is his brother.
Dan: Denise van Outten. So Denise is or Nicholas. He owns the building.
Sidey: Riggs likes an opening shot. So should we, should we go, should we take it back to the
Reegs: I do. Yeah, take
Sidey: take it starts, it starts with a kind of CP montage of his childhood with his dad. And obviously a very privileged upbringing.
It's they live in a mansion.
Dan: live in a mansion.
Sidey: It's very, very well to do.
we see some shots of, you know, expensive cars and there's a driver there's kids, parties where there's everyone. I know even their kids are wearing suits. It's all. Like almost like royalty, you know, the way they're carrying on, but doesn't necessarily show it as being particularly happy necessarily.
Reegs: his father is a sort of shadowy presence. Yeah. In the back of the room in silhouette, you see him sometimes. And he gives him a toy boat, but like you say, there's no joy there.
Dan: And, and all this is happening as the, the credits are rolling and the, the title music's playing and you see, this is kind of dream like old CPS sequence of
Sidey: also a bit scratchy.
It's quite scratchy. And he just, this is off the back of seven, which the titles had that as well. So I wasn't necessarily expecting a serial killer movie, but it's definitely gives you that down beat. Yeah. Everything's not super happy here.
Dan: There's an anxiety there with the music, with the, with the visuals and you see. A, a young boy, which you, you already take to be young, Michael Douglas young Nicholas. And he, he gazes up at the, the roof and he sees a figure up there, which he knows to be his father.
And it just holds that shot as he's stood on top of the building. And then it kind of cuts to him falling or
Sidey: well, I don't think he does. I don't think he does that
Reegs: it doesn't happen straight away. You just, you just see the flashbacks and then it like cuts to Douglas splashing water on his face.
And then, you know, you see the signs of his astonishing wealth. He's weighted on hand and fur. And he goes to his own building, the van Warton building in San Francisco and a lack. He greets him and parks his car and he goes up and he's searingly dismissive to his secretary. You can see he's this control.
There's no, there's never gonna be a right answer to anything that he says when his ex-wife calls, she says, oh, Elizabeth is nine one. And he's like, who's that? Ex-wife, you know that?
Sidey: I think he's forgotten his own birthday. Yeah. Yeah.
Reegs: Well, or on purpose maybe. but he has been called by Seymour butts.
Reegs: Which he takes, he, he cancel, cancels his schedule to take the meeting with Seymour butts
Dan: Because he knows this to be his brother.
And this is where we meet Sean Penn and they, they eat in a restaurant. Sean Penn was never gonna get in without knowing his brother. It's this country kind of club style. Brilliant hotel, posh
Sidey: members only, perhaps
Dan: only needed a jacket that he had to borrow
Sidey: gave me a free jacket. He said,
Dan: Yeah. Then he, he likes a cigarette and they say, look, you can't smoke in here.
You can't smoke in anywhere in San Francisco. And he goes on with you. What they gonna do? Yeah, his brother has some, some weight. And,
Sidey: well, he says the last time I, I saw anyone from here, I was buying crystal meth.
off the, off the mare D yeah.
Dan: right. So he is, had his ups and downs and their, their relationship is obviously a little bit strained, but they do make the effort and he's, he's canceled his appointments, as you say.
And he's gone to meet his brother who hasn't forgotten it. It's his birthday and wants to give him a gift.
Sidey: Yeah, he does give him a gift.
Reegs: Well, what do you give the man? Who's got everything. He gives him a business card for CRS, consumer recreation services, and he tells Nick to call the, the number. You know, it'll be a profound life experience he says to him yeah.
Dan: and he, he finds himself in a building a, a, a couple of days later after a meeting that has the, the logo of the company. Yeah. That he's been debating on, on calling his brother insisted. He said, you will call him, you will call him won't
Sidey: Yeah. He says, yeah. I said a word. He said, he didn't say it.
Dan: he's the kind of guy that won't, unless you press him,
Sidey: question, but yeah, he's in the midst of some transaction or other something, some deal is going down.
On edge more so than
Reegs: he's taking over a publishing house that, and the guy who owns it was sort of friends with his father. So it's a difficult business deal and it's being set up in the background and van Orton is having to take all of it on personally.
Sidey: And yeah, like I say, down in the lobby of the.
The building, there's a, like a popup in sort of in construction version of the CRS. And he clocks it and he's got the invitation on him and he's like, okay. And as he's there, he thought, oh, well, fuck it. I'm here. I'll go. And.
See what it's all about, which turns into a whole day of testing and, you know, answering surveys, tests.
Dan: all kinds of, there's a physical in there. He thinks it's gonna take a couple of hours, which I thought even then, he's gonna say no to, but he finds a time and you can see he's agitated when he is been there all day.
Reegs: It's the great James rib red horn. Is that how you say his name?
Dan: That's right. The guy that greets him and
Reegs: and he plays this fine gold. Yeah. And he's kind of just sort of going through the motions, eating his Chinese everything's set to disarm him actually, because the secretary makes him weight, which is unusual for him.
And the building is still being assembled around him. Yeah. They've just moved floor. Anyway. Yeah, he does the physical exams. He does the psychological tests and he signs a release thing as well.
Dan: He he's done all the
Reegs: he gets like he has to do like a clockwork orange.
Sidey: Yeah. Yeah. He turns around and looks at the projectors, like, where is this? And it's all these disturbing images and then flashing up words, like commitment and orgasm.
Yeah. And he's clearly like, well, out of his comfort zone,
Reegs: He says the guy says to him, you won't have to pay if you're unsatisfied. And he says dissatisfied and he says, oh, that's right. You're a left-brained word, fetishist
Reegs: And I felt seen for a minute there But so anyway, at the squash court, he can hear people talking about CRS.
Reegs: And he goes into the club and he picks two guys' brains about CRS and they have this sort of cult light look on their face. Don't they, when they talk about it,
Dan: They're two gentlemen, a little bit older than he is, and they're, they're enjoying the whiskey that he's bought him as he slowly gets around to the topic that.
Bought a drink for them in the first place. And they don't give much away. They just say, it's whatever you want it to be. Or, or the, the meaning will come to, you know,
Reegs: he quotes a Bible verse to him. He says, whereas once I was blind, now I can see, and it's all creepy.
The score's creepy and it's shadowy. And,
Dan: and, and they say, oh, oh my first time, if, if I wish I could go back for my first time. So he's a little more intrigued. And probably disappointed a few days later when he is in the
Sidey: Yeah. It cuts to his board meeting about this deal, and he's just ruthlessly going through this extremely long document and just scribbling on it. You know, you can just see him putting red lines through stuff and he throws it on the table and it's sort of in disgust and his number two. Says to the, the board members.
This has to be done by tomorrow. When Mr. Aton boards, his plane tomorrow morning, this will be done perfectly, but they know it's, that's an all-nighter for them. Yeah. Yeah. And he's a SLU, but his phone rings and he takes the call and it CRS, he says It's obviously a private line. How did you get this number?
And they just say to him, just cut him off and say, well, you thanks for your time, but you've been declined. Yeah. And he is like, well, you know, not used to that certain saying no to him, it's obviously not something that happens very often. And they just, they just hang up and he's obviously like he's thrown off balance and like, whoa.
Dan: Yeah, that's right. He, he asks his number two comes in and says, you okay? And he's a bit put out, but he's a busy guy.
But everything has been done so far just to
Reegs: Just to, well, it start to unsettle him, the man who controls and runs everything. We're about
Dan: 25 minutes into the film here. And we've just established the kind of guy that Nicholas is and. The, the people around how they react, the relationship.
Cause he has with people
Sidey: well he phones, he phones comrade on the way home and says, I've decided that I'm, I'm too busy for that. He can't even tell him the what's actually happened.
He's like, no, I just, I decided to, yeah. To pull the plug on
Dan: to be in control's. One of these guys needs to be in control all the time of everybody.
He wants them.
Reegs: Yeah. But what he's not in control of Dan, is that when he gets back to his house after that phone call
Sidey: we have now seen the father jump yeah.
In flashback. And when he gets back to the house, there's a body.
Sidey: Lying basically exactly. As his father was on after his suicide.
Reegs: and then it gets worse because when he goes to investigate it, it's actually a terrifying mannequin with a clown face on it's fucking fuck.
No, that is no, no, no, no, no. And in the clown's mouth is a key. Which he studies you know, and he, he plays with it while he sits in his study. And, and the news is talking, it's been talking in the background,
Sidey: I love, fucking love this
Reegs: about healthcare. A lot of the time there's been an interesting subplot going on. If you listen to the news thing about healthcare and pension plans, that all that he's involved in, and the newscaster Daniel shore playing himself says in the background, he says no one has considered how this will impact the pampered existence of Nicholas van Warton.
And suddenly he's
Sidey: it's just sort of heres his name. Yeah. Isn't quite sure.
Dan: And it goes back
Reegs: and then it starts insulting him. Has anybody considered what it would take to, you know, for a bloated, flat fat cap millionaire, like you, he says
Dan: And sure enough he susses after thinking he's heard something for a couple of minutes, he actually starts having a conversation with his television.
Yeah. And he can't believe it. Of course, he's the guy's got all questions for him and it seems that he can actually see him cuz when he says something, he says, no, save your questions for later. We're gonna do this, this and this. He starts trying to piece the television apart to find the camera.
That must be looking at him. But in fact, what happens is that the maid comes along
Reegs: Well, he finds it in the the
Dan: He does eventually the maid comes along though and says everything. Okay. As he's kind of ripping off bits of the furniture. Yes.
Sidey: the news reader snaps back to a normal yeah.
Dan: yeah. Really clever done. And as you say, finds out, this, the camera is in the eye of the clown.
Reegs: Yeah. And there's a key and he tells the newscaster, talks to him again and tells him there will be keys to look out for keys. And yeah, it's just really crazy and Unser. Game Oh he's given a number. Isn't he to that?
He's to call for emergencies only.
Dan: That's right. Yeah. And then his game kind of begins and he's.
Been then told he's not accepted and his game is now beginning. So you can understand he's a little bit confused. He thinks this is
Reegs: Yeah And then, and everything now suddenly takes on a weird veneer because he goes to the airport and there's like a homeless guy pestering him for a minute.
And then as he walks in, there's like a pilot who looks a bit weird and shifty on a phone call. And when you listen to the phone call, it actually sounds like there's nobody on the other end. And then. Like, it's just weird stuff happening when he goes to the toilet. Somebody wants toilet roll being passed when he goes to the executive lounge, a, a guy aggressively stares at him and points at him.
And then he realizes he's got on him and it's like ratcheting up the tension.
Dan: And, and also it, it kind of gave me the feeling that the game had started to begin because he was taking in what's happening right at that second. Right now he's walking along and he's noticing conversations. He's, he's sensing people around him or, or whatever it is
Reegs: but watching this fresh though, the first time you didn't know, you didn't know at this stage what's going on, but there is the tension because this film is so brilliantly paced all the time.
There's the tension and the paranoia of what's happening.
Dan: Yeah. But I, I did get the, the sense there as well that, okay. Look, he's, he seems to be looking at things differently.
He's paying attention to things that otherwise he wouldn't, maybe it's because of the paranoia in and around this game, starting and everything.
Reegs: I thought about that Paul bastard, who was asking for the toilet paper, he didn't give him any. Yeah. So he'd have to like waddle out of the, you know, the waddle. Yeah. But in a pub, in an airport, toilet.
Dan: Yeah. So that, that was a, an interesting little scene and there's, there's lots of chance meetings and certain things. There was a, a baby's rattle, which had the face of a clown,
Dan: which was put right next to him and he wasn't sure. The way it was laid under a newspaper, it was another key and he was kind of reaching over and then the girl, the mother comes along and gives him a dirty look as she picks it up before him.
And a lot of these things may have been already put in by the game as we'll
Reegs: who knows later,
Dan: or they could be
Reegs: Yeah Cuz when he gets to his meeting, he's savaging, Anson Bauer, the head of the publishing thing that he's gone to sort the deal out for. And his briefcase. He can't open it and he's gotta give him the final papers, but he realizes not his briefcase.
And now he's got a CRS key and he can open it and blah, blah, you know? Yeah,
Dan: yeah. It, it really starts to, I mean, that scene he's flown over to another state, New York, maybe. With his briefcase with all the papers to do this deal that everybody's been staying up all night to do and write the contract and his friend had come, the number two had come to the airport and said, look, I check to myself personally.
It's all good. Thanks so much. Right. Go and knock him dead. Can't get it open. He plays it really cool in the meeting. Doesn't he
Dan: you are a lucky day and walks out and then you see him in the
Reegs: lobby. Laing. Yeah.
Dan: down. Yeah. And then he, it cuts to back home and he's well, no, he
Reegs: well, no, he goes, this is where he meets.
Dan: So he goes to a restaurant and,
Reegs: well a waitress just spills wine all over him. And she apologizes at first. But then she calls him an asshole as she walks off because you know he does get a bit snappy with her, but he's had a shitty day and she did pour a load of wine over him and then she's fired because the maitre.
Dan: And his, his reaction doesn't help. She calls him an, a asshole and she's fired.
Reegs: And then he's taken to another table and then a waiter immediately hands him something and then goes off and he reads the note and then follows him. But the guy's gone and cuts to outside. And he's waiting for Christine.
Dan: The the, the waitress who's just been
Reegs: And he's like, I don't know how this works, you know, because he's now all right, this is all part of the game. He's starting to get it. But she's like, who is this fucking nut job? Yeah. Like it's really unsettling because she's, it's now flipped completely because you are starting to think things are in the game and she's looking at him like, what are you talking about?
And then she tells him to fuck off in, in fact. And she runs away from. And then a guy just has a heart attack in front of him. He's the only guy who's around to do anything about it.
Dan: And in true van Orton style, he he does nothing. He just stares and slowly comes over. He's left his briefcase just to the side there and the girl rushes
Dan: he's not gonna do anything. That's gonna save this life. And she said, look, he's pissed himself. He's
Reegs: he's like, it's all in the game, but she yanks his teeth out and gives him mouth to mouth. And it's like really kind of visceral. It's like, well that this doesn't look very game-like to me,
Dan: No, it really makes him question himself.
And he he's now not sure. A couple of times you can see in his face, is it a game? He doesn't wanna get tricked. He wants to be in control, but he really doesn't know which way is up at the moment.
Reegs: And neither do you, is the viewer. You haven't got a clue now. What,
Dan: No. And he ends. The ambulance comes, the police come.
They want him to make a statement. They make him ride in the back of the ambulance to
Reegs: yeah. And that's when he shows her the note that he was given, it says, don't let her go. Don't let her get away. And she's like,
Dan: yeah. Could apply to anyone. He's decided it's her because. He was, she was the only girl that had seen in
Reegs: So anyway, when they get to the airport, it's like an underground not the airport, it's the hospital. Isn't it. And it's like an underground car Parky thing. And as they park the ambulance, all the power switches off and everybody fucks off. So now you're like, oh, it is the game. Right. Okay. But she doesn't seem to know what's going on.
And then at the far end of the, the underground car park, there's a lift isn't there and he's got a key to get him in there.
Dan: And yeah, it is strange because he's following her as much as he thinks it's a game, as much as he says, oh, the. He's not brave enough to stay in that dark car park alone. And he walks off after the, the girl in the lift.
This, everybody saw coming the lift breaks. You know, the lift is one of those that stops halfway up and he uses the key from the clown's mouth to open. No, to start the, yeah, the lift in the first place, which then breaks and they climb.
the floor of the,
Reegs: the CRS building CRS building.
Yeah. yeah, yeah, yeah. Mind boggling. It's there's a lot of plot isn't there because I dunno how much we're gonna break it all down because it's, but it's loads of layers of really cleverly paced scenes that flip your expectations multiple times in them.
Dan: you don't know who's in the game, you don't know, who's just a normal person.
Sidey: sort of tells you at the start that in a way that none of this is gonna be real. It's a game, but there's the way it's brilliant is that it we've so much paranoia and second guessing into it that you dunno which bits are and who is, who is part of them and how,
Reegs: well there
Sidey: how far reaching can the game actually be?
Because at one point his bank tell him that all his money's gone. You know, so the, you know, the bank really involved, you know, and
Reegs: they tell you,
Sidey: every layer
Reegs: well, they tell you it's brilliant the way they do that, because they, they say, oh, we've done all your psychological profiling and that, that you did. So we use that to hack all your bank accounts and we've taken all your money. And that's what the game is.
It's this sinister paranoid. Organization that's out to exploit millionaires. So he checks his bank, he phones his first bank account, and then he uses his password. And then they're like, oh no, that was the game. We got you to record it, to say it. Now we've actually got your stuff. It's like,
Dan: like we, we call it again.
But a few times we've got really extreme life, potentially life threatening moments. There's one, one time when he is in a cab and the cab
Sidey: in the water,
Dan: the cab driver rolls out as he's blasting towards the end of the, the peer and And then the car goes under, you know, with him in it. Yeah. And he's been given a, a handle at some point earlier and it was just like a wrench handle.
Isn't it? It
Reegs: well, he is trying to figure out earlier, he's looking at like, what am I supposed to do with
Dan: game. I'm not sure at this point, but soon after, if not this point he's he makes it out the car. He, he swims to the surface and wants to know about to his brother, you know, his brother.
It's all gone wrong.
It, this, there is that scene. Isn't there where
Sidey: attacked me.
Dan: they've actually come. I've paid him off the game. Won't you know, the game, isn't a game. They won't stop. What they're trying to do is kill everyone. I've paid him. I paid him. They won't let me, and he ends up having a huge argument and running away from his brother.
Yeah. Which just makes it another level of. Unsettled disappointment for him. He's yeah, he really doesn't know which way to go at this stage.
Reegs: he's also now starting to be blackmailed. There were photo, they set up a trashed hotel room with pictures of. Christine, I guess it was and drugs and all sorts of shit.
So, you know, he's starting to lose absolutely everything, lose all of his power in the situation.
Dan: And, and his character being called into question which he also has this, as I mentioned, this high pressure deal going on, that he thinks that might be part of it. Doesn't he? And he, he goes in with these photographs of a woman in a red bra, and he'd already seen Christine in a red bra when
Reegs: they'd, Yeah
Dan: Been earlier.
She had, had to take a shower and, and.
He's just confused. And he goes into Anton Bayer, the publisher, and he accuses him of blackmailing him in front of his wife and in front of his daughter. Yeah. In this really kind of cringy scene where he just throws it all on the table. He's got his lawyer. And then he says, oh, well, I dunno why I'd be blackmailing you cuz I signed all the papers you wanted to this morning was your problem.
And he's gotta row right back. And he's not good at that either. Is he? I misunderstanding, mumble something under his breath and he's he's out the door and he's number two is lawyer. He's really kind of worried about him at this stage. He's saying, are you okay? Do I need to be, how concerned should I be?
And he's losing his mind on the outside a little bit.
Dan: He really has been put through the mill with this. And this is the coolest cucumber ever. I mean, this guy is just ruthless, he's ruthless. He,
Reegs: Yeah. I, I dunno how to go on with this because there's literally so much more plot. I'm looking at my notes. There's so many more like really cleverly put together
Dan: is, and, and you know, if you have, if people haven't seen it, then Going through all the plot is probably not gonna suit them anyway. So just it is layered so many different layers of different games. You're not sure who's in the game.
You're not sure who's gonna,
Reegs: there's an amazing scene that when they go back to Christine's and you're convinced now that she's not in on it.
Yeah. And then when they go back there, he just looks around and he notices that the, the, her apartment is more like a film set. It's just brilliant. There's like a light bulb. That's still got a price tag on and there's like the books aren't real on the shelves
Dan: the books were brilliant when they, they were just like
Reegs: is empty,
Dan: half a book, and they've just.
Reegs: So paranoid, so paranoid and there's big shootouts. And like you say, genuinely think his life is at, at stake. And then, you know, obviously, should we just get right to
Dan: well, it is a few times that there's I say the, the car, you know, there's gunshots. Yeah. All around
Sidey: the car, especially you're like, well, he could have died. yeah.
Dan: And there there's a couple others I'm probably missing that you really think, geez, he's they, they drug him at one
Reegs: Yeah. Well, I think the end. Constitutes one of those as well to be, to be fair dad.
Dan: well, they,
Sidey: Takes a certain amount of like how certain can you be that? Yeah. What happens? Are we gonna say exactly what happens at the end? I would just say that the ending is brilliant.
is, but it does, it does require a certain amount of luck in a way.
Reegs: the whole film becomes really implausible about two thirds of the way through, but it doesn't really matter
Sidey: No it doesn't or
Reegs: because it's just such a good thriller and yeah, I, I used to not enjoy the ending actually, but this time around, I was just, it's absolutely brilliant.
It's all the whole movie is just
a lot of the you know, people that will suggest things and they will then you'll go and do them or you'll go and say these kind of things. So they. Make you choose you know,
Dan: it appears you've got free choice, but in fact, because of the subliminal messages, they've, they've fed into you you kind of feel you're gonna go one way and that's how I approach the end.
And, and the second half of this film, really that the psychological job they did do
Reegs: on this movie, gaslights, you that's what it does. It gaslights you in this movie, you just don't know what it's doing and what it's making you think.
Sidey: If, if you'd been put through the mill like this and at the end, everyone's like, surprise, would you have been like, oh, if that was brilliant, thanks.
I'm like you fucking assholes. That was
Reegs: enjoy the t-shirt though.
Reegs: What was the, t-shirt
Dan: but I mean,
Reegs: it, I got drugged and left in Mexico and all I got there was this lousy t-shirt. Yeah.
but it is that, that kind of thing, that full reflection on himself that he's been forced to do in this game. And as it. Once you were blind now you can see, and that's kind of how, I guess he felt coming off that final scene
Sidey: he ends up like asking Christine for a.
She says she can't, she's got another job to do, but she offers to have coffee with him. Do you think they lived happily ever after eventually? Or do you think that was just the start of something else? Take him to
Reegs: start of something else I would say.
But van Oton moving on into a new
Dan: Yeah, I think that was just a case of him doing something that he wouldn't normally do
Reegs: Spontaneous and doing it on her terms.
Dan: it changes his outlook and he's 48 years old.
It's the same age. His, his father passed and, and killed himself. So it's just that. Perfect time for him to reestablish his life and, and move on. And it kind of makes him with the, the conversations he has afterwards. He doesn't freak out at everybody. He doesn't. Like lose his shit and stuff, grabbing on those guns and all the people that you've seen throughout the film, or lots of them, and little bit part characters, they're WAV in they're clapping.
And, and this is a guy who, who has basically been born again. You know, this is what this company has done. They've given him the opportunity to, to take everything back and say, what is really important. There it is. And that's
Reegs: And the cinematography is really good and the editing's really good as well.
Yeah. It's all
Dan: the editing's fantastic. The way that this story is put together. And as you say, the pace, just the way it's RA Ratched up to to that crescendo at the end. And then let allows it just to settle for like five or 10 minutes afterwards where you think. Yeah. Okay.
Reegs: Because you get him working through a load of his personal demons, cuz with his brother, he confesses to him, like, you know, I had to go and be.
The old I had to go and be this guy now in my life, you know? And then with his ex-wife, he sort of apologizes, she was in on it or not. I'm not sure she's there at the end. Fuck nos.
Dan: well maybe this is one of the most implorable things that you would get as many people to go along with it as
Reegs: well, but to have such a, you know, like such a wealthy.
Guy a smarmy elitist asshole. And by the end of it, you're kind of rooting for him. , you know, basically through what he's been through. And then even if you choose to see it, it's like just a portrait of a narcissist who thinks the world revolves around him. Like, and it's literally happening. That's an interesting thing to think about as well.
Dan: which he is. Yeah, but by the end of the film, he's not, and this game has gone a long way in helping him resolve that. So yeah, it is. It's a clever film. Really enjoyed
Reegs: This was better than I remember
Dan: Yeah. I haven't, I've seen it twice before. This is a third time. Probably haven't seen it in six, seven years, but I enjoyed this time more than the
Sidey: The very first time that I watched it, I fucking hated it. Why? I dunno why you enjoyed it. I dunno if it was coming off the back of seven or what it was, but I think I was just being a prick cuz I was watching it with a group of people and they all loved it
Reegs: the ending.
Sidey: and, and I didn't wanna like it, but I now I watched it like every couple of years I go back to it cuz I just think it's fucking great.
Yeah. Really, really good. Yeah. It's just got that aesthetic. That's really pleasing to me. It. Super fucking paranoid. And even when you've seen it, it still works. Like, I think it's still, I try and not, you know, watch it just so I'm just not quite, you never forget it. No, but everything's all the details are just a little bit blurry, you know, and you can still enjoy it.
And Michael Douglas is great. He's just really
Dan: he really
Sidey: plays this kind of character, like better than
Dan: Well this is a kind of Gordon gecko kind of goes. Jaws, jaws are the Nile when he needs to, with a bit of action and running around and
Sidey: he says that thing about his shoe at one point, when he, he loses his shoe and he is like, oh, that's like a couple of thousand or whatever.
Yeah. And she's like for your shoes, he's like, well, yeah,
that one what
Reegs: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Great. Really good. If you haven't seen this, watch it. And if you have seen it, watch it again.
Sidey: Could have been a very different movie. Jodie foster was originally signed on to play his sister. Not it wasn't gonna be brother.
It was his sister, but she wanted to change it to be his daughter.
So they canned her.
Dan: she, you basically saying, look, I look far too young
Sidey: Yeah. They Fincher and Douglas were like, no, that's rubbish. So they cast Sean Penn. So she sued them to the tune of 54 and a half million dollars. Oh. Even though her production company was one of the.
Was one of the companies involved in the movie. They settled out of court in the end. So that's
Dan: eight away at the profits. Were there any for this?
Sidey: Oh yeah, the budget for this was 50 mill. Yeah. And it made a hundred, 1,000 nice. Probably a bit more
Reegs: east good David venture.
Sidey: Yeah. He's fucking
Dan: 10 of that went to Jody. Who was the guy who pointed the ink out and he came right at the end
Reegs: He was the, they implied that he was the leader of CRS.
Reegs: Okay. Right at the end they implied. Or maybe I inferred it.
Dan: Ooh. Maybe the game has started for us as well. Res
Sidey: then they were gonna go for Jeff Bridges after Jody foster is the brother,
Dan: Right. The brother didn't have that much to do in it, to be honest, you know, Sean Penn.
Reegs: Well, he does fake his own death at least once he gets right at the end, he gets shot with the thing
Dan: no. I mean, plot wise, he does, but actually within the film, he doesn't have lots of scenes. It's mainly Michael Douglas. You've got Sean Penn at the beginning. There's the meal.
Reegs: it's mostly the Michael Douglas show. Although Deborah Carra Unger is very good as
Sidey: It's not David Finch's favorite movie.
Reegs: No, he doesn't like the ending.
Sidey: He doesn't like the final third. And he wishes he hadn't made it, but I'm glad that he did.
Cause I think it's excellent.
Dan: Yeah I think
Reegs: if you don't like the ending, the first two thirds is so, so well done. Just watch it for that and then turn it off.