Smoky silences, carefully orchestrated background music fishing for dramebaazi and a whirlwind trip through glitzy cities of the world doesn't compensate for lack of thrills in a murder mystery. Abhinay Deo's Game just doesn't excite you enough. Yes, it has its moments but the style unabashedly overshadows a lukewarm story.
Kartik Vijay's camerawork is fantastic. Also, the virgin island in Greece looks deliriously gorgeous. But the look of the film in general is a mixed bag. It tends to be mostly greyish and dark giving a morose feeling for most parts. Amitabh Shukla's sloppy editing makes for a long-winding 'chase' that may lull you to cozy naps in between. And it is definitely not a good news for a 'thriller'.
The film pretends to be an intelligent murder mystery but if you are a keen watcher, then there are several laughable loopholes in the supposed 'mystery'. Billionaire Kabir Malhotra (Anupam Kher) is bumped off. His Will is being burnt in a dustbin adjacent to his dead body. The fire is caused by a fire cracker and the smart-shades cop (Kangana Ranaut) is unable to notice it during her investigation. One has to wait for the genius nose of Neil Menon (Abhishek Bachchan) to discover this garish 'fact' right in the end. And voila, mystery solved. Elementary my dear Watson. Hmmmm....
Newbie Sarah Jane Dias (Maya in the film) has a couple of songs, a handful of dialogues and she is made to rest in peace. Her romantic track with Abhishek deviates from where the film should have been headed. In fact, Junior Bachchan's character undergoes too many transformations. A Casino owner who can kill at ease, sneak into buildings and con people (a la Hrithik in Dhoom 2), has access to the OB van of a news channel (in a country he's not familiar with) and go live with heart-attack worthy Breaking News. Obviously, his real identity is revealed later but one is unable to clearly understand his motives for killing. Line of duty or avenging the death of his beloved?
Moreover, Abhishek tries to put up this cool dude act laced with a crooked smile and smart ass sense of humour. But his double chin, unkempt persona lets down the character he is meant to play. Somehow, he doesn't look the part. Hrithik Roshan or maybe Saif Ali Khan could have taken this character to a higher, cooler level. Kangana looks super with those shades but her accent is a downer. She tries too hard to look-n-sound intelligent but the manner in which her firang boss (caricaturish casting) treats her like a school girl makes it unintentionally funny. Anupam Kher is reliably good and Gauhar Khan is getting better with each outing.
Director Abhinay Deo is a slick craftsman. He has a strong command over the technical sheen of his film. As a product, Game looks very polished. Great locales and dishy editing chops. But, Deo falters in his execution. The basic plot is interesting and one does get surprised at several junctures. But the over all impact is half baked. To put it more clearly, the thrills are not thrilling enough. The dialogues have been credited to Farhan Akhtar and they are surprisingly ordinary. Some of the lines (specially Kangna's) are cheesy and unintentionally funny. Music by Shankar Ehsan Loy is passable but no lasting numbers there. Background music by Ram Sampat nicely weaves the Middle Eastern feel in the Turkey scenes but on the whole, there's nothing exceptional about it.
Game: Not really on (unless you are fatigued by movie drought).
Star Rating: **