7 May 2008 | Lechuguilla
Games Of The Very Rich
Exotic locales on the French Riviera form a beautiful setting for this highly complex whodunit story about six Hollywood movie insiders who agree to participate in a reality-based game to celebrate the life and tragic death of Sheila, another Hollywood insider, whom they all knew.
The game's host, Sheila's multi-millionaire husband Clinton Green (James Coburn), has devised six pretend pieces of gossip; the idea is for the participants to guess everybody's secret. As one participant says: "That's the thing about secrets; we all know stuff about each other; we just don't know the same stuff; how did (Clinton) find out? Sheila, probably." The game winner gets top billing in Clinton's forthcoming movie: "The Last Of Sheila".
The script's underlying premise is ingenious, and the story is quite well executed. The plot has more twists and turns than a corkscrew. Every scene is important in some way. The identity of the killer is not at all easy to discern. Indeed, my guess was wrong.
The film has an ensemble cast, and they all give convincing performances. I especially liked James Mason and Dyan Cannon. Color cinematography is topnotch, and includes some difficult camera shots of and on a luxury yacht. My only complaint about this film is its relative lack of suspense. I could have wished for more spooky chills. For a murder mystery, the tone is just a tad too playful.
Inadequate suspense aside, this is a terrific movie that will appeal to mystery lovers especially. It's got some classy characters and dialogue, great visuals, fine performances, and a riveting plot.