THE GAME BLU RAY REVIEW

David Fincher made THE GAME, in the centre of a very creative period. After the success of SEVEN, the Dante Alighieri quoting, serial killer film and before the man thumping, male endangerment work of FIGHT CLUB. THE GAME was released and then disappeared, falling into the cracks of the cult film market and onto VHS. That is where I saw it first. I was enamoured with it.  A film that is both visually interesting and had a story that was layered with subterfuge and distraction.

Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) lives the life of a multi millionaire fat cat on the outside. On the inside, the  memory of his father’s suicide never escapes him. Nicholas receives an unconventional birthday present from his estranged brother Conrad (Sean Penn).  Its a chance to play a “game”, called THE GAME. As things unfold, Nicholas finds himself unable to trust anyone. Christine (Deborah Kara Unger) is the only contact he has to save him.

So THE GAME, now almost 25 years young, how does it hold up to review. Well frankly it doesn’t. Its directed with great skill and taste. The use of framing, sound cues and that colour palette is sublime. But what you start to see is all the silly things that take away from the film. The visual motifs, the dragging around of the story, the unnecessary use (and abuse) of the production team. Now I wont spoil the end for anyone, but the point it makes is obvious and heavy heavy handed. Finishing with this makes the film less interesting and deadens what might be being told.

THE DISC

First things first. This transfer is the same as the stunning Criterion version that Fincher himself passed as acceptable. This is possible the best transfer I have seen of a Fincher film. Ever.

THE EXTRAS

I did not see the book but it will be stunning no doubt. What I did see (Disc 1 only) has two exceptional pieces to hunt out. First, critic and programmer Nick Pinkerton. Pinkerton delves into Finchers work and the piece as a metaphor. You do get the usual listing of cast and crew but you also get a great discussion on what the heck it all means.  The other is Men On The Chessboard. Neil Young talks what you dont see first time. This is for film geeks and those who love the film. Things you missed and things you saw are dissected and mushed together. Great stuff.

TWO-DISC LIMITED DELUXE EDITION CONTENTS

  • Limited to only 3,000 units
  • Deluxe packaging including a 200-page hardback book housed in a rigid slipcase, illustrated with newly commissioned artwork by Corey Brickley
  • 200-page book exclusive to this edition includes a newly-commissioned full-length monograph by Bilge Ebiri, and selected archive materials, including an American Cinematographer article from 1997, a 2004 interview with Harris Savides by Alexander Ballinger, and the chapter on the film from Dark Eye: The Films of David Fincher by James Swallow
  • Arrow Academy Blu-ray including new bonus features and UK home video premiere of director-approved 2K restoration
  • Universal Special Edition DVD featuring archive extras with cast and crew

DISC ONE – BLU-RAY

  • 2K restoration from the original negative by The Criterion Collection supervised and approved by director David Fincher and cinematographer Harris Savides
  • High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
  • Original 5.1 & 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Isolated Music & Effects track
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • New audio commentary by critic and programmer Nick Pinkerton
  • Fool’s Week: Developing The Game, a newly filmed interview with co-writer John Brancato
  • Men On The Chessboard: The Hidden Pleasures of The Game, a new visual essay by critic Neil Young
  • Archive promotional interview with star Michael Douglas from 1997
  • Alternatively-framed 4:3 version prepared for home video (SD only), with new introduction discussing Fincher’s use of the Super 35 shooting format
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Teaser trailer
  • Image gallery

DISC TWO – DVD

  • Standard definition DVD (PAL) presentation
  • 5.1 Dolby Digital audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary with director David Fincher, actor Michael Douglas, screenwriters John Brancato and Michael Ferris, director of photography Harris Savides, production designer Jeffrey Beecroft and visual effects supervisor Kevin Haug
  • Behind The Scenes featurettes – Dog Chase, The Taxi, Christine’s House, The Fall (with optional commentary by Fincher, Douglas, Savides, Beecroft and Haug)
  • On Location featurettes – Exterior Parking Lot: Blue Screen Shot, Exterior Fioli Mansion: Father’s Death, Interior CRS Lobby and Offices, Interior Fioli Mansion: Vandalism, Exterior Mexican Cemetary (with optional commentary by Fincher, Savides, Beecroft and Haug)
  • Theatrical trailer (with optional commentary by Fincher)
  • Teaser trailer
  • Teaser trailer CGI test footage (with optional commentary by designer/animator Richard Baily)
  • Alternate ending
  • Production design and storyboard galleries

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