Game Night (2018)

Game Night

 

Game Night 2018

 

Written by Mark Perez and directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein, Game Night is a wonderful, fast moving and very funny dark comedy-cum-thriller.  It just sneaks up on you and offers a refreshing antidote to the overrated, pretentious Oscar-winner The Shape of Water.  In fact, it mercifully wipes out the bad taste left by that nonsense.

Right from the delightful opening scenes where we see games-obsessed Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) meet and fall in love, you just get the feeling that you’re in for an undemanding good time.  And you’re not wrong.

The couple have a perfect relationship, marred only by the fact that Max’s sibling rivalry with his successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) is stressing him out so much that he’s not able to help Annie conceive. “I’m not loving your sperm” their doctor (Camille Chen) tells him.

And it doesn’t get any better when Brooks turns up in his brother’s dream car, a Stingray, and takes over the show, organizing his own very elaborate Game Night which will see the staged kidnapping of a player, with one of the three regular couples promised the keys to the car if they solve the mystery.

But what is real and what is fake here?  In that respect it reminded me more than a little of David Fincher’s weird and twisted The Game; but mostly – because I wasn’t expecting such a rare treat – it brought to mind for me last year’s excellent Happy Death Day.  As with Jessica Rothe in that film, Rachel McAdams is a pure joy to watch.  Whether she goes full-on Pulp Fiction, looking sexy as hell as she waves what she believes is a fake gun around; or when she is using a militant white supremacist site to help her remove a bullet from Max’s arm, McAdams just steals the show.  And the chemistry between the two is terrific.

Which is not in any way to take from everyone else involved.  Despite the film moving along at a rate that goes from brisk to chaotic, we really get to like all of these characters –even their creepy neighbour Gary, wonderfully played by Jesse Plemons.  They are — every one of them — sharply portrayed and work together seamlessly.

There are plot twists and even some genuinely surprising moments, held effortlessly together by imaginative directing.  There is one marvelous shot where we see the neighbourhood laid out like something on a Monopoly board, but with a real car moving through it.  Very clever indeed.

Throw in some great Cinematography from Barry Peterson and a score I can actually remember for a change from Cliff Martinez and you’ve got a smashing little package here.  In fact, it’s the most pure fun I’ve had at the cinema since the aforementioned Happy Death Day.

Game Night is a winner for all concerned.

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Charley Brady

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2 Comments

  1. A good one Charley. I have a theory that the Academy having to watch (in theory) all of these movies have had their brains so scrambled that they vote for what they think is the most politically correct, socially correct movies, which are, of course, the movies none of the “little real people” (the ones that spend money to go see them) really likes. But what do we, the great unwashed “deplorables”, know? We would not know “great art” if it hit us in the face. Right? All I know from experience is that when a movie is billed as the winner of X number of Academy Awards it usually is a real dog turd.

  2. Can’t argue with that. Then again, I have never known a genuine movie fan who took the Oscars seriously. I gave up on them around the time that ‘Raging Bull’ (back when De Niro was an actor instead of a whining foul mouthed wagon who really seems to have lost the plot since Trump became President) lost out to ‘Ordinary People’.

    ‘Game Night’is a lovely little piece. It’s got humour, it’s got great characters that you laugh with while at the same time liking them. And it’s fun. Remember that? When movies were fun. It seems like a billion years ago.

    What does ‘The Shape of Water’ have? It has a white man who is a totally two-dimensional white psychopath; a gay guy who would get on your nerves, not because he’s gay — I couldn’t care less about that — but because he’s a whining plonker.

    It’s got a black woman who is so friendly with her mute (tick another box) pal that she sees bugger-all wrong with the fact that her friend is having it off with a sea-creature.

    It’s at this moment that I think I have gone completely insane.

    On the plus side, I’m heading off to Dublin to see a one-off showing of ‘The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ by one of the great Irish film directors of the silent era, Rex Ingram. Can’t wait.

    But can you imagine asking one of these clowns from ‘the Academy’ who Ingram was? “Oohh, who’s that? I can’t find him on Facebook. Why doesn’t he have sound on his film? Why is it in black & white?”

    Give me strength; I love movies but by Christ have I grown to loath some of the fools that are involved in them…..

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