Face-Off: The Game Vs. Panic Room

The majority of commenters seemed to side with the psychotic victor of our last Face-Off. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle certainly did not overstay its welcome in the hearts of horror fans, however a nice amount, including our fearless leader, The Arrow, threw some love at the runner-up, Unlawful Entry.

For today's Face-Off, we are featuring two films from master director, David Fincher whose GONE GIRL opens this Friday. Fincher always knows how to bring the suspense and keep us guessing. The man's middle name must be "Thriller". Hence we'll be breaking down two of his thrillers from yesteryear with THE GAME and PANIC ROOM.

Lead Star
I've always felt that Michael Douglas's Nicholas Van Orton deserves to be remembered as one of the greatest characters in the history of suspense films. He's such a cold, ruthless business man at the beginning that you'd never expect to soon be rooting for. Suave sophistication aside, once the shit hits the fan and the Game begins, he's reduced to poverty levels and still is able to collect himself and become better.
Jodie Foster's Meg Altman is definitely a fantastic, strong female character. Foster, of course, completely rocks in the role. Although slightly vulnerable at the beginning, having just been left by her husband, she certainly rises valiantly to the occasion once her home is invaded. She is tough, intelligent, and highly caring towards her daughter. And I couldn't picture any other actress than Foster in the role.
Lead's Relative
If you want an interesting character to go along with your high profile lead, you can't do much better than Mr. Sean Penn. As Nicholas's brother, Conrad, the dude paints a perfect picture of the wild younger sibling. He's charismatic, a tad douche-y, hilarious, and completely steals the show whenever he's onscreen.
I wonder how many remember that Jodie Foster's daughter was played by a pre-Twilight, boy-haircutted Kristen Stewart. This was way back before she developed an, uh, indifference towards acting. She's actually quite good in Panic Room and is able to hold her own with Jodie Foster. The mother/daughter relationship has to work because it takes up a big chunk of the flick. Thankfully it works very nicely.
Everyone is against Nicholas (so it seems). First he is taunted about his past. Then, his work life is disrupted. From there, his decency is brought into question. And then the shit really hits the fan. He is hunted by unknown assassins trying to kill him. The worst part is that soon, Nicholas is unable to tell what is real or fake. The Game's got him by the balls.
Jared Leto in cornrows. Yup, that is the initial main threat against Jodie and Kristen. He, Forest Whitaker and Dwight Yoakam are the somewhat evil intruders. At first, they don't seem extremely frightening, however as the night goes on and they continue to fail at achieving their goal, they begin resorting to much more frightening actions.
Never knowing what to expect next really adds to The Game's suspense. You're essentially as clueless as to what's going on as Nicholas. While there isn't anything really scary to experience as the viewer, your pulse definitely takes a beating as Michale Douglas is attacked with high caliber machine guns and chased all over the f*cking place.
For a movie that takes place in just one, albeit fairly sized location, Fincher is still able to inject a great deal of harrowing moments. There's a suspensful chase with an elevator before Jodie and Kristen even enter the panic room. Creative shots inside walls pull off a nice heightening of suspense. You also get a freaky sense of claustrophobia once they are trapped in the room.
Just when you think Nicholas is completely f*cked, he digs down deep and finds the strength to take on the organization responsible for putting him in the Game. He walks right into the lion's den (the new building where the company has relocated) with an employee as a hostage. Still unsure if the game is real or staged, he is cornered and ends up accidentally shooting Conrad, his brother. It really was all just a game. Utterly distraught, Nicholas leaps off the top of the building... and lands on a huge safety cushion. His attempted suicide was also part of the plan and helped change Nicholas's cynical view on life. Heavy, yet cool.
The intruders turn on each other and Jared gets killed, however the remaining two attempt to finish the job. Jodie gets separated from her daughter as the intruders obtain what they came for and try to leave, using Kristen as their hostage. However, bad ass Jodie disrupts their departure. A brawl ensues between Jodie and bad guy Dwight Yoakam. Right when he is about to kill her, ol' Forest has a change of heart and offs psycho Dwight. The police arrive and Jodie and Kristen are saved.
The Game
Well, that wasn't really too much of close race, was it? It doesn't take a Consumer Recreation Services employee to tell that The Game dominated this game. Personally, I feel that it is a better movie than Panic Room, but I've gotta hear how you see it. So, please throw caution to the wind and fire them bullets below. And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at [email protected].



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