We Bought a Zoo
A widowed father played by Matt Damon moves to the South Californian country and purchases a zoo with his family
On Film4: 31 Aug 6:25PM
A taut, tense and darkly stylish thriller by the director of Se7en and Fight Club. Michael Douglas is the control-freak millionaire plunged into an unstoppable executive game
Seven and Fight Club were among the 1990s darkest and smartest films, combining high style, grim wit and a certain cultural resonance. Sandwiched between them was The Game. It doesn't scale the same heights but it's still a pertinent parable about high-risk fun made with Fincher's trademark flash and menace.
Nicholas Von Orton (Michael Douglas) is the rigidly self-controlled millionaire introduced by his brother (Penn) to the shadowy Consumer Recreation Services organisation ("an experimental book-of-the-month club.") They instigate a series of nightmarish happenings in which Von Orton's blackmailed, assaulted then left for dead. It could be a decadent game designed to be put high living execs in touch with their inner warrior. But it might not be.
With its paranoia, fear of emasculation, uncertain narrative and conception of life as sport The Game shares much with Fight Club. For Douglas too this is familiar territory and his control-freak-turned-helpless-victim recalls roles in Wall Street, Falling Down and Disclosure. Visually it's as exhilarating as we've come to expect from Fincher, and there are some enjoyably potent lines. "They fuck you and fuck you and fuck you," says Penn. "And just when you think it's over, that's when the real fucking begins."
Good looking, tightly controlled thriller. An exhilarating ride that prepares the ground for Fight Club.
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