Borrowing its set-up from the Agatha Christie bestseller And Then There Were None, director Abhinay Deo’s Game opens with a millionaire inviting four strangers to a private island, where he reveals that each of them is hiding a dirty little secret that connects them to each other.
Over 70 years since it was first published, and many screen adaptations later the book still offers a premise that’s ripe for reinterpretation. Game, unfortunately, squanders that potential.
Abhishek Bachchan plays a nightclub owner and drug baron in Istanbul, Boman Irani a Prime Ministerial candidate in Bangkok, Jimmy Shergill a movie-star in Mumbai, and Shahana Goswami a boozed-out journalist in London. The four of them, strangers to each other, arrive at a Greek island on the urging of Anupam Kher’s character, who has evidence to implicate them in the death of his daughter. Before he can expose them however, he is mysteriously killed. Kangana Ranaut, an officer from the International Vigilance Squad shows up at the scene of crime and allows the four suspects to return home. But she’s planted surveillance cameras across the globe to track their movements so she can figure out who the killer is.
What the film lacks in terms of intrigue and suspense, it tries to make up for with slick visuals. But it’s hard to remain engaged in a thriller that has no place for basic logic. Packed with clichés that make you cringe and plot-holes the size of craters, Game is a colossal bore. The film’s first half in particular is a test of your patience as it involves so much banal talking that you want to stuff cotton in your ears. The second half is just silly chases and pointless flashbacks involving newcomer Sarah Jane Dias’ character, who plays the murdered girl at the heart of this story.
The acting is serviceable at best, save for Kangna Ranaut who at least attempts to lift this dumb script with some energy on her part. The big twist in the end feels lazy, and the identity of the murderer is so obvious you don’t even feel worthy of a pat on the back for guessing correctly. A disappointing music score and sloppy dialogues add to your overall feeling of being underwhelmed.
The only respite in Game is some eye-watering photography, a thrilling foot chase sequence in Istanbul, and a surprisingly understated romantic track involving Abhishek Bachchan’s character. Unfortunately that’s not enough to save this mess of a thriller.
I’m going with a generous two out of five for director Abhinay Deo’s Game. If you really want to play, grab a bat, a racket or a football and head out into the open for the real thing.