Game Of Death
Thomas BornotGiles Amado and Alain-Michel Blanc
France, 2010, 95min.
In The Game of Death we have the substantial impact of gameshow machinery as a stand-in for the scientific authorities of the initial experiment. An impressively deadpan TV hostess gives the orders to continue the game, even as the victim’s suffering becomes unbearably audible. It’s all a hoax, of course, apart from the fact that the participants are admitted, via auditions, to what they are led to believe is a regular game-show in which some participants ask questions to which others must respond.
The last one (an actor, of course) is supposed to be at the receiving end of the electric shocks, given at successively increased voltage, as punishment whenever a wrong answer is given. Let the games commence. An obvious flaw in this film is that what’s being revealed by this “doctored” TV-show, and by the Milgram experiment for that matter, is hardly the shocking truth that it aspires to be, but rather a reminder of lessons learnt in school about the atrocities of Nazi Germany: cruelty is potentially everywhere.
The horrors of the concentration camps were made possible only by the passivity and participation of the Common Man, the word “common” here to be read as conventional, rather than base. Hence the rooted scepticism some of us exhibit when something is justified with reasoning along the lines of “but that’s normal”, or even better: “natural”.