Sometimes when watching a movie you can reach a level of bewilderment that forces you to take stock of the situation and remember what it's all about. The fabric of cinema is escapism, and entertainment is the objective... and despite all of the face-palm reactions and “as if” moments BIG GAME is a shit-load of fun.
This strange action-adventure from Finland marks the return of director Jalmari Helander following his incredible Christmas horror flick RARE EXPORTS, and he comes to the party full of ambition and audacity. Set in the mountainous landscapes of Finland the story follows a 13-year old boy sent into the wilderness for two days as a rite of passage. Expecting to hunt deer, he ends up protecting the American President and fighting off international terrorists. Ah huh, that's right. Air Force One is shot down and the bad guys want blood.
Samuel L Jackson takes the lead and delivers cinema's unlikeliest president. There is zero plausibility to his character and yet in a movie like this, it just makes sense. You watch his every move awaiting that euphoric “mother fucker” moment, although his character is unexpectedly wimpish. His co-star is Onni Tommila, the kid from RARE EXPORTS, and he does a top-notch job. He's a micro action hero who leaps off cliffs and hangs from helicopters.... enough said.
The most staggering thing of all is the prestigiousness amongst the supporting cast. Jim Broadbent, Ray Stevenson, Felicity Huffman, Ted Levine and Victor Garber all join the fun and it begs the question – why? I can only assume that they signed on based on the critical acclaim of RARE EXPORTS. With the film's total budget of $10M it certainly wasn't the money that attracted them. None of them are particularly good they spend most of their time acting inside a poorly crafted government crisis room.
Where BIG GAME works is in its style. It's shot beautifully and even the hokiest of green-screen effects have a strange fanciful allure. Gratuitous lighting designs and an overuse of fog-machines give the movie a fairy-tale quality that sling-shots it into the stratosphere of heightened-reality. It's difficult to dislike this cheeky oddball adventure and my recommendation is to leave your common sense at the door. Bust open a packet of chips, down a few brews and enjoy the shit out of BIG GAME!