JOBLO'S MOVIE REVIEWS

SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Series 7: The Contenders (2001)
star Printer-Friendly version
Review Date: April 30, 2001
Director: Daniel Minahan
Writer: Daniel Minahan
Producers: J. Kliot, K. Roumel, C. Vachon, J. Vicente
Actors:
Brooke Smith as Dawn Lagarto
Glenn Fitzgerald as Jeffrey Norman
Marylouise Burke as Connie Trabuco
Plot:
This movie features a game show in which random contestants are chosen to kill one another, with the last standing survivor declared as the "winner". The film basically covers several "episodes" of the show, and details both the killings and the behind-the-scenes action alongside its contenders.
Critique:
It's always cool to walk into a theatre, jaded and disillusioned as to the state of Hollywood movies, and come out, walking tall and feeling great after checking out a fresh new ambitious little film. Here's a movie that utilizes a concept presently being overused on TV, of real-life contestants competing against one another for prizes and glory, but adds an original little twist: the contestants actually have to kill each other in order to "win" the game. Absolutely brilliant. The satire in this film is biting, the comedy, despite being extremely dark (and I mean, really dark!), is very well balanced and the drama, that is the actual rapport that the audience has with the characters, surprisingly touching. How the filmmakers got me to "root" for one person to kill another is beyond me, but there I was, sitting in the dark, laughing my head off at some of the funniest "real" moments that I've seen in a movie all year, and then suddenly, being placed into a situation where one of the characters literally has to kill the other one in order to survive...very strange.

But you gotta give credit where credit is due, and the folks behind this movie really did a great job of presenting us with an extremely realistic portrayal of an actual "game show", packed with all the goodies, including the over-the-top narrator, the home video shots, the steady cam and everything else that comes with the package. But what was even more impressive about this movie, and the thing that took it to that other level for me, was the fact that all of the actors in the film were dynamite and thoroughly believable. I mean, you really felt like these people were stuck in this game for real, fighting for their lives. Of course, the film wouldn't really have worked otherwise, but major kudos go out to all of the lead actors, and especially to Brooke Smith and Glenn Fitzgerald, who just pulled me into their own personal stories and solidified my involvement in the film. Overall, the film didn't bore me for a second, surprised me consistently (especially the ending, which was "to die for"!), made me laugh and squirm, and most importantly, entertained me throughout.

Note: Some might question how this type of "game" would ever exist in a society such as ours, a query not touched upon in this film, but I liked the fact that they didn't get into all that. You basically have to go into the movie believing that this type of "game" is accepted by society as a whole, in whatever year that the show is set, and roll with that. Of course, it goes without saying that the way "reality TV" shows are going nowadays, God knows what the future will truly hold for us.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!