Reviewed by: Francisco Gomez Jr.
Jason Bateman … Max
Rachel McAdams … Annie
Kyle Chandler … Brooks
Jesse Plemons … Gary
Michael C. Hall …
Chelsea Peretti …
Billy Magnussen … Ryan
Kylie Bunbury … Michelle
Danny Huston … Anderton
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|Director:||John Francis Daley
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New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures
“This is not a game.”
Game night for many is a time for fun and relaxation, but it is not so for Max (Jason Bateman) and his wife Annie (Rachel McAdams). They’re game night is crashed by Max’s multi-millionaire brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler), and their favorite night of the week is turned into a nightmare. Brooks hires the company “Murder We Wrote” which creates a realistic role playing game. However, Brooks gets kidnapped by real criminals, and so the film follows Max, Annie, and their group of friends as they try to save Brooks. There are plenty of twists along the way and they must deal with the cards dealt to them. Therefore, I cannot detail much more. In this review, I will start with moviemaking quality before I talk about objectionable content—which this movie abounds with.
The intriguing and mysterious plot is the first thing the movie gets right. The progression of the “game” parallels with the growth of characters. As the night goes on, they begin to understand how they relate to each other, and why they care about each other. It leads to several heartfelt moments.
There are twists I thought I saw coming from a mile away, but I had the rug swept from under me every time. It is a film that keeps you on your toes. The movie manages to make several clean jokes that do hit the mark. With a commanding performance, Rachel McAdams continues to show that she loves her comedic roots. Bateman’s chemistry with McAdams gives the film its heart and a sense of charisma.
John Daley and Jonathan Goldstein direct the movie superbly from a technical aspect. There is a continuously shot scene that demonstrates their high level of proficiency that would not typically be expected from a comedy. The acting, direction, design, and writing are all good on such a small budget; clearly the whole crew wanted to make a good film, and from a secular standard they achieved that goal.
What should Christians look forward to in this film? Not very much. It is vulgar, profane, and full of crude humor. I like to be detailed with content for concern, as our readers count on us for accurate information, but the content was so abundant I could not keep track. Suffice it to say, you can expect it at every turn. There is foul language every couple of sentences. There is no nudity in the film, but sexually crude jokes are prevalent. There is a whole subplot of a character guessing with which celebrity his wife slept with before their marriage.
There is a surprising amount of violence. Annie makes an incision on Max’s arm in frame in order to get a bullet out. Some characters die or are shot. There is also a scene that involves humans being treated as possessions for underground fighting. Characters drink throughout the film.
This film is the very definition of a dark-comedy, and has the content to prove it. The film shows criminal life to be unrewarding, but in the end undermines that message for comedic effect. The content is frustrating because under all the distracting vulgarity there is a film with a touching message on envy, forgiveness, and family.
Brooks had originally set up game night in order for Max to win his car, because it is Max’s dream car. It is later revealed that Brooks wanted to make up for constantly undermining Max throughout their life. Brooks was envious of Max’s achievements: a loving wife, an honorable job, and stability. Brooks made his wealth through a life of crime, but claimed his riches came from investments in stock. Throughout the film, everyone is affected by his bad choices and greed. The Bible warns of living such a life and the consequences it will have on others.
“The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivers from death” —Proverbs 11:3-4
While perhaps not intentional, the film does a good job of showing the consequences of greed and envy. In order to make up for the envy of his brother’s life, he sets everyone’s life in danger as the consequence of his actions surface. Envy can drive us to destructive tendencies. The most touching moment in the film comes from an act that resembles love from Brooks. He admits that his pride caused him to constantly put Max down, and proceeds to put his life at stake.
As long as envy and pride is present in relationships, we cannot love at the standard God holds us to. Christians, we are commanded to love our neighbors and act in a way that glorifies the Lord. We can turn to the example Christ has set for us, that he laid down his life for our sake, humbled himself to die a criminal’s death, and loved us enough to endure our pain.
Christ demonstrated the ultimate act of kindness for humankind on the cross, and you have the opportunity to answer. If you are wondering what it means to be a Christian and what it means to have a relationship with him, then some Christian Answers articles can help you understand!
“Game Night” features a great performance from its cast, and solid direction. The film attempts to have a positive message, but is undermined by its negative content. It is full of vulgar language and crude jokes, with a couple of laughs from clean comedy. We are spared from nudity, but are treated to explicit jokes revolving around sex. This is a Rated-R film intended strictly for adults. As a Christian, I strongly discourage fellow believers from seeing this film. We must remember to fill our minds with thoughts for edification, and be wary of content that may distract our walk with Christ.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” —Proverbs 4:23
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.