Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

WHAT I'M WATCHING - The Game & The Killing

As I stated in a previous post, I've been consuming a lot of cinema lately -
specifically films that I think can be of some inspiration on whatever script I'm working on. I tend to do that while I'm writing; it all helps tremendously, as I'm sure many of you writers would agree!

As I jogged this morning, my mind continuously working as usual, I reached an epiphany! Why not share what I'm watching on my blog?!

Brilliant, right? :o)

Anywho... so, instead of writing full-length reviews of each film, I'll instead keep each to succinct paragraphs.

Call them my 5 cent reviews!

In the last 2 days, I've seen The Game and The Killing, in that order. Here we go with my 5 cent reviews of each:

The Game -

David Fincher is undeniably very good with mood and atmosphere - camera work, lighting, production design, sound design, soundtrack, etc. And those elements made
The Game far more watchable for me than it would have been, without them. It's an interesting premise - one that we've seen in many films before and after (you'll find similarities with films like Fight Club (also a Fincher work), and even Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life). And, billed as a thriller, I certainly was riveted for a significant portion of the film; however, it's one of those films that, as I thought more about it after I saw it, the more preposterous the entire story seemed. I was willing to buy what Fincher and company were selling for some of the movie, but whatever anticipation is built up in the first hour, gradually dies in the second hour, leading up to the twist ending, with scene after scene demanding more and more of the viewer's suspension of disbelief/belief. In the end, it felt like much ado about very little - a pretty picture with something genuine to say, but just not very well thought through and executed. Not a bad film - I'd certainly take The Game over countless other studio pictures. This is my second time seeing it by the way. The first time was the year it was released - 1997.

The Killing -

Stanley Kubrick's 3rd feature, made in 1956. He was just 28 when he produced it. I mention his age, because, it's quite an impressive piece of work that any filmmaker, aged or novice, would gladly have on their resume; and to think that it was written and directed by a 28-year old is simply awesome! The film is a detailed account of a heist gone bad. Sound familiar?
Resevoir Dogs, maybe? And others I can't think of at the moment. Also, it's told in a somewhat non-linear fashion. Again, sound familiar? Resevoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, et al. Not that Tarantino was directly influenced by Kubrick's film - in fact, I can't say, since I haven't read anything stating the affirmative - but the similarities can't be ignored. At around 90 minutes in length, the film feels much shorter, which is a good thing in this case. It moves along quite briskly, forcing you to keep up, which isn't all that difficult to do; and it's just plain FUN to watch! I had a wonderful time taking it all in and was engaged for the entire 90 minutes. The cinematography is excellent - a Kubrick staple as we would see in his later works - including what we could call trademark lengthy dolly shots that follow the motion of an actor in a scene, as well as some unconventional camera angles. I love black & white film stock, especially when it's so rich and contrasty as it is here. The urgency in the soundtrack overwhelms slightly, but it worked throughout. I would strongly recommend The Killing for anyone interested in Kubrick's earlier films, or anyone who loves a good heist movie. Given the advances in techonology we've seen since its day, the film feels dated in some sequences; but, that can be resolved quickly by simply placing the characters and story in context. This was my first time seeing it by the way. I ordered the DVD immediately after.


I'll be catching at least 2 more before the end of the weekend, and I'll share my thoughts after.

Have a good day!


  1. Sergio said...

    I saw The Game when it first came out and I thought it was a well done, well well shot and intriguing film....that is until the BIG REVEAL twist ending which I thought was totally preposterous and far fetched and ruined the entire film for me. Also Jodie Foster was originally supposed to play the lead but dropped out and was replaced by Douglas. It would have made it a more interesting film but still a disappointing one with the same lousy ending.

    Kubrick's The Killing... what can I say? A terrific, must see film. Lean, taut, expertly made. If you like The Killing then you have to see one of its obvious inspirations, the 1950 film The Asphalt Jungle directed by the great John Huston, also a heist gone wrong movie with Sterling Hayden along with Sam Jaffe (in a great supporting role), Louis Calhern and a very young Marilyn Monroe in a small part as Calhern's mistress.

  2. Sergio said...

    Oh yeah it's not The Killing but Ringo Lam's 1987 Hong Kong thriller City of Fire with Chow-Yung Fat that was the direct inspiration (or rip-off) for Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. In fact during a press conference at after the Cannes premiere of Dogs, when a reporter from Film Threat accused Tarantino of ripping off Lam's film, Tarantino walked out of the room

  3. The Obenson Report said...

    Interesting fact about Jodie Foster. I had no idea. It may have given it a different tint, but, with the same story, I think my reaction would have been the same.

    Aaah yes - "The Asphalt Jungle!" I totally forgot all about that. I've actually seen it, but awhile ago; it was one of those film school necessities. Thanks for the reminder; I'll have to pick it up again.

  4. Aziza said...

    I saw "The Game" the year it was out and I remember not liking it much. This was right after David Fincher made "Fight Club" which I loved. So I had high expectations for "The Game" and it didn't deliver.

    I haven't seen "The Killing." I will look for it.

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