Monday, 3 August 2020

Game Night - 2018 film review

Game Night is a comedy rather than a crime film, but it revolves around mystery games, so it's more than eligible for a review in this blog. I came across it by chance when we were looking for some relaxing viewing and it more than filled the bill. There are plenty of American comedy films that leave me cold, but this wasn't one of them. It's funny and clever.

Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman play a couple who are highly competitive game-players; they are also trying for a baby. They have a neighbour, a sad and lonely cop who is obsessed with games and has been deserted by his beloved wife. One evening, they go to some lengths to pretend to him that they are not going to be playing a mystery game with their friends, in order to avoid his company, only for Bateman's brother, a loud egotist to whom he has always felt inferior, to blow the gaff.

The game is rudely interrupted by the kidnapping of the brother. At first the game players think that this is some ingenious variation of the game. Unfortunately, it turns out that the brother is in hock to some gangsters and his life is in jeopardy. Undaunted, the game-players set out to rescue him.

The complications come thick and fast. The script is witty and the acting exuberant and I'm not surprised that this film was a big hit at the box office; the success was well-deserved. I was also interested in the way that the writer, Mark Perez, reinvented for a modern audience the mystery game concept which features in so many Golden Age detective novels - Christie's Dead Man's Folly is one example that springs to mind. There's life in the old tropes yet.

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