Game (Abhinay Deo, 2011)
Four strangers: drug lord Neil Menon (Abhishek Bachchan), politician O.P. Ramsay (Boman Irani), filmstar Vikram Kapoor (Jimmy Shergill) and journalist Tisha Khanna (Shahana Goswami), each from different parts of the world, are summoned by billionaire Kabir Malhotra (Anupam Kher) to his private Greek island to participate in a sinister “game” he has spent three years planning – a game which will implicate three of them in the death of a young woman. But when Kabir Malhotra is found dead, from an apparent suicide, in a locked room, with all the evidence against his ‘guests’ missing…then the game really begins.
Game has been slammed all over the ‘net and pretty much declared a massive, horrendous flop. My favourite comments accuse it of trying to be stylish and substantial and failing at both, at trying for an international (read: Hollywood) feel and ending up with a poorly paced, plot-hole ridden mess.
So you know I totally loved it, right?
First of all: I was pretty much primed, by the time my dvd arrived, for the film to be bad. I wasn’t expecting a timeless classic of Hindi cinema. I just wanted it not to be excruciating or offensive.
And secondly – HELL YEAH, it’s kind of a mess. But it’s a HOT mess, like the cracktastic Luck (a film I find WILDLY, ENDLESSLY enjoyable).
I DO have a genuine love for entertaining trash, and Game pretty much fits the bill perfectly. It’s a pulpy, twist-laden, plot-hole-ridden, ludicrously unrealistic (and kind of predictable, if you’ve EVER seen a classic masala film) Bollywood plot filtered through what I guess is “international” style. Which is just what I would call kind of cheesy. Honestly, some of the ‘smooth’ one-liners made me laugh SO HARD because they are trying so hard to be ‘cool’; I was EXTREMELY disappointed that the film didn’t end with a giant “GAME OVER” stamped across the screen. Because it would have been PERFECTLY IN LINE with the style and “awesome unpredictable coolness’ they were going for. Also, I would have laughed so hard I probably would have broken a rib. As it is, if you watch to the end of the closing credits song, Abhishek ends proceedings by UNIRONICALLY pointing a gun at the camera and shooting.
The film is actually pretty well constructed and totally engaging for the entire first half – a slick, glossy thriller in a seemingly Hitchcockian mould; the story is - if a little reminiscent of the ALL TIME CLASSIC Clue (that's actually not a bad thing) pretty original for a Hindi film and executed fairly stylishly; the performances (from a pretty stellar cast) are generally pretty good – new face Sarah-Jane Dias is pretty and natural onscreen (except along with pretty much the entire cast, she could use some dance practice; or maybe just a better soundtrack would have helped). If anything, the fault for the movie rapidly slipping into LAUGHABLY LUDICROUS territory after such a promising start rests ENTIRELY on the script.
And the credit for that goes to….Farhan Akhtar. Seriously. I thought the dude a) was slightly more clever than to leave a HUGE, GAPING plot hole even a toddler could plainly see in the middle of a thriller, and b) has ACTUALLY WORKED IN FILMS before, both in front of and behind the camera, so he does know how these things work, right? Unless he was trying to sabotage it for some reason, or just really underestimated the intelligence of the audience.
Farhan, dude. FAIL. EPIC FAIL. It makes me think you’re kind of a douche.
But at least the resultant hot mess, gigantic plot holes and outlandish narrative and “smooth” stylish glossy finish - it’s ridiculously entertaining.
NOTE: I pretty much ordered this dvd DESPITE all the bad reviews because I love Abhishek Bachchan and will forgive him anything. I thought Game was hilariously, wildly entertaining (mainly for the wrong reasons, I suspect) but the one ENDURING message I took from it was:
ABHISHEK! PLEASE! I love you – seriously, you are awesome, and I think you are an excellent actor - but PLEASE stop playing the same role over and over again. I know that on paper ‘the cool guy’ probably looks like a great idea – who wouldn’t want to be “the cool guy”? BUT I AM TIRED OF SEEING YOU PLAY INTERCHANGEABLE ROLES IN MEDIOCRE MOVIES.
I do realise the hypocrisy of this statement when I am quite happy to watch other (they shall remain nameless) actors play essentially the same role over and over again in countless mediocre movies. BUT ABHISHEK HAS ALREADY PROVEN HE CAN BE MORE THAN “THE COOL GUY”.