I suffer from some kind of writer’s block, or maybe I've just seen too many movies now (it's pushing 350 since January 1st, this year) and I can’t find anything new to write about them. I’ve written every word written, I’ve seen even more I can possibly enjoy. No wonder my mind is empty for sentences, dots and commas. Monkey Beach is one of my favorite shops in Stockholm. No, I lied. It’s THE favorite shop I have in Stockholm, maybe the world. I’ve been a regular there for… yeah, close to 20 years. Not all the way, but I’m sure I first arrived for the first time there a couple of years after the shop opened.
Micke, the owner, have gotten to know me quite well over the years (from my point of view he’s still a mystery, which makes my love for the place even cooler) and usually he knows what I like and don’t like. Sometimes he can spend years trying to make me buy a movie until I buy it, and often it’s excellent. His recommendations is the best recommendations you can get.
Games was such a DVD he took out from the massive, over-crowded, shelves and put in my hand. “You’ll like this one”, he said and continued to watch Jimmy Kimmel on his laptop. Of course I bought it. It’s been collecting dust for a few months now, but this is one of those days I feel terribly bored, close to depressed. And often what I need at a time like that is something I never seen before.
James Caan and Katharine Ross is Paul and Jennifer, a rich bored couple who spends their time having weird parties, demonstrating their rare collection of games and curiosa inventions. One day a middle aged lady knocks on the door, her name is Lisa (Simone Signoret) and she sells soaps, creams and other things for the woman in the house. Suddenly she falls down on the floor, unconscious, and Paul and Jennifer calls a doctor. She comes to life again and quite quickly becomes friends with the young couple. She notices they like games and she tells them she finds them boring, childish. So she challenges them for some psychological, more emotional games. She ends up living in their guestroom while they’re conducting one weird game after another, until it one day goes terribly wrong and death strikes their twisted, hip apartment!
Games is a very clever movie, but beware. For us who have seen countless Italian thrillers from the late sixties, early seventies (you will know which ones when you see Games), knows what’s going on. It’s familiar terrain we’re encountering here, but boy is it good! Caan is doing his normal,. nonchalante stud-routine, but with an interesting cold charisma. Katharine Ross does the same, going against the normal conventions and seems to enjoying the increasingly cruel experiments they all three do to each other and others.
The biggest star, in my humble opinion, is the french character actress Simone Signoret, who more or less rules even scene she’s in. She seems to have been a really cool lady also, married to Yves Montand, always provoking the audience and critics and - which must have been controversial at the time - just didn’t give a fuck about aging. She never tried to hide her age or health or what ever, she used her drastically aging looks to get more interesting parts. She died way too early, way too young in 1985. In another smaller, but equally important part, the always reliable Don Stroud shows his talent as a hunky delivery man.
Games is clearly the inspiration for at least three Italian thrillers and with a brutally effective screenplay, this is really a hidden gem that deserves to be found again