The Dinner Game

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Francois is not what most people would consider a social success. He isn’t that easy on the eyes, his social skills aren’t up to snuff, and his favorite hobby is crafting replicas of famous monuments out of match sticks. I mean, the guy is an accountant, which isn’t a profession viewed as a thrill a minute. Pierre, on the other hand, is quite a social success, being what most people might call a snob. Pierre and his equally snobby friends gather each month for a dinner date. While a dinner might not seem like that much fun, Pierre and his buddies spice up the evening by holding a game. This game consists of finding out who can bring the a total loser, and then judging who has brought the biggest loser of the group. Seems like something the rich and popular would do to pass time, at the expense of the lesser folks. When Pierre meets Francois and learns of his habits and mannerisms, he thinks he has a sure fire win in the dinner game. What seems like the perfect chance to belittle someone for personal amusement takes an unexpected turn however, when Francois and Pierre end up trapped inside Pierre’s apartment. With time rolling by slowly, Pierre learns more about his friends, Francois, the cruelty of his actions, and even himself. While this movie is quite funny, I think some of the humor is lost in the subtitles.

This movie was a huge success in France, but then again, they favor Jerry Lewis for giggles, so you never know with them. I think much of the humor relies on delivery style, which is not found if you don’t speak French. While humorous sequences abound, I just get the feeling like I am missing so much in the translation. One aspect of the movie I really liked was the dark streak running through the humor, which made for some of the best laughs in the film. This is a quite mean spirited flick, so if you prefer light hearted laughs to more cruel farce, keep away from this one. The humor is mostly dialogue based, but some amusing segments of physical comedy arise as well. The characters, especially Francois, are well crafted, and the story keeps from being cliched too much in the manner it displays them. The lack of an English dubbed track is going to lead some horses to other waters, but I think those who can deal with subtitles should stick it out. I am not against original language tracks, I prefer them in fact, but I can understand the large portion of readers who abhor subtitles.

With a movie this funny and dark, I can’t help but recommend it. Fans of foreign films, comedies particularly, will have more interest than most others, but anyone looking for a great way to spend an hour and a half will like this also. Again, there is no English track, so prepare for some reading when you plop this sucker in your player. The disc itself sports a nice audio and video treatment, but lacks in the extras department, so a rental is more in tune in this case. A purchase is in line for those who can’t live without this movie, with an affordable price tag.

Video: How does it look?

The Dinner Game is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The colors appear within a natural spectrum, but when called for, brighter tones emerge. Flesh tones are consistent and correct as well, and only minor compression flaws surface. The black levels look sharp also, no detail loss can be detected, and shadow depth is accurate.

Audio: How does it sound?

A Dolby Digital surround track is used, which features the original French language. If you don’t speak that tongue, you’re covered, as English subtitles are included. This isn’t the type of movie you expect dynamic audio from, but given the material, this track is quite nice. The surrounds come to life from time to time, the score usually kicks through them a little. The focus is dialogue, and even if I am not versed in French that well, I know clean and crisp audio when I hear it, and that’s what this is.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The theatrical trailer is included.

Disc Scores