Game Changers (2017) Movie Review

Posted July 25, 2017 by in Drama

Rating

Our Score
 
 
 
 
 

4.5/ 5

Length: 90 minutes
 
Release Date: 2016
 
Studio: Candy Factory
 
Genre:
 
Director:
 
MPAA Rating:
 
 

Pros:

An exceptional drama about very real characters. Maybe the best movie about gamers ever made.
 

Cons:

None.
 
Verdict

Synopsis: Bryan and Scott are eSports legends! Their identity and value has always been tied to their notoriety as professional gamers. Now in their late 20’s and working together at failing IT company, they begin to feel the responsibilities of adulthood sinking in. Bryan will do anything to reclaim his status as a pro gamer, […]

by david j. moore
Full Article

Synopsis:

Bryan and Scott are eSports legends! Their identity and value has always been tied to their notoriety as professional gamers. Now in their late 20’s and working together at failing IT company, they begin to feel the responsibilities of adulthood sinking in. Bryan will do anything to reclaim his status as a pro gamer, but Scott doesn’t identify with the gaming circuit like he used to. Bryan convinces Scott to help him assemble a squad of top tier players in order to reclaim greatness. But at what cost?

 

Review:

The generation that grew up on Star Wars and the pop culture lexicon of the 1980’s has been making movies for a while now. We’re living in an era of homage and geek fandom, and I believe we’re suffering from it as a culture. The cannibalization of other ideas, previous franchises, old ideas, and the neverending supply of new stuff that has been retreaded from better materials that came before. Even the billion-dollar blockbuster hits like the new Star Wars movies are pale imitations of the originals, and it’s because most Gen-X filmmakers haven’t quite examined what made their childhoods so great to begin with. They know what was great, but they can’t quite explain it or work around it in their psyche, which is why so few great movies and literature and music is coming from the pipelines these days.

 

Which brings me to the relatively recent release Game Changers, which was a startling and sobering portrait of two childhood friends who were great gamers when they were kids, but as adults they’ve meandered and gone their separate emotional ways. Bryan (Brian Bernys) was the wunderkind kid gamer genius, always the star, always the privileged one. He relished his superiority and while he had a security cushion with his father, whose successful IT company gave him a career to fall back on, he grew bitter and emotionally unstable when he finally realized that his greatest days are behind him, even at the young age of pushing-30. His friend and gaming partner Scott (Jacob Albarella) never looked back on the brief moment in time when he held gaming records, and he’s content to work a menial IT job at Bryan’s father’s company. Scott is well liked and even has a prospect of dating a new hire at the company, a cute artist who takes a shine to him. Bryan’s life, however, is a rapidly declining mess: His girlfriend is finally beginning to realize that he doesn’t treat her well or even particularly like her, and his complete and utter disregard for his work performance is finally catching up to him when his father hires a cleaner to asses the value of the company so that it can be sold. Bryan becomes desperate to re-enter the professional gaming circuit to try to reclaim his title, but in order to do that, he’s got to drag Scott into the plan as well, not to mention a handful of other teammates, so that Bryan can bask in a glow that has long since faded. But there’s a huge problem with that: Bryan has become a cold and calculating (and selfish to the point of being obsessed no matter the consequence) human being, and he all but destroys all of his remaining relationships in the process. How will Scott navigate the perils of his relationship with Bryan, who has seemingly lost the ability to see beyond his own periphery?

 

Game Changers is a sparkling, truthful gem of a movie. I completely understood every character in the movie, and the knowing script by Rob Imbs (who also directed) treats these characters as if they were real. There wasn’t any post-millennial irony to this film, which is a treat these days. I’ve been bamboozled so many times watching movies about “gamers” and geeks (like Knights of Badassdom, Fanboys, Rise of the Fellowship, and plenty more) that ultimately let me down because the filmmakers don’t completely commit to the drama and reality of what it means to be a gamer, geek, or fan, and what that does to long-term relationships. While I didn’t “identify” with any of the characters in Game Changers, I knew who these people were, and I felt challenged and committed to their stories. I have no idea who Rob Imbs is or what else he’s capable of as a filmmaker, but if he can make more movies that continue to reach into the hearts and minds of his characters like he did here, then he’ll be one of the few new independent filmmakers to watch out for. Game Changers moved me and inspired me.

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About the Author

david j. moore

david j. moore is the author of World Gone Wild: A Survivor's Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies and The Good, the Tough and the Deadly: Action Movies and Stars.