The Gamechangers (2015)

The Gamechangers Poster
Game Over!

Director: Owen Harris
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Bill Paxton, Joe Dempsie

Grand Theft Auto remains one of the most controversial, and profitable, video game series to date, and it's all thanks to Rockstar Games. Surely A film adaptation of this rising company, their popular creation and legal troubles would be a no-brainer? It appears the BBC got there first, with weak results.

As Rockstar's president, Sam Houser, Daniel Redcliffe leaves less of an impression than his silly beard. The fault isn't entirely his, as James Wood's script gives us no indication of Houser as a person. Outside of his work life, all that's known of his is his loves for producer Don Simpson & Ping Pong.

Opposing him is Jack Thompson, a lawyer who opposes Rockstar and their content. Oddly, his character comes off as a lunatic, rather than somebody who genuinely believes in what their saying. Bill Paxton's proved he can do unhinged well (see Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), but his performance ends up being rather wooden. It's not helped how he's left to enact ridiculous scenes, such as chasing kids on bikes and speaking to God during a game of Golf.

You're a gangster, Harry!

Brought to life is one of Rockstar's biggest controversies, as we witness the carjacking and homicide committed by Devin Moore. This scene is crafted within a tracking shot, using a third person perspective akin to a scene from GTA. It's an interesting choice, but the scene doesn't really work. All we see of the character is his constant video game playing. There's nothing about his life at home, or the kid who got caught up in such a serious event, leaving the scene to feel like a case for the "Video Games cause violence" argument.

It's apparent the BBC and director Owen Harris were in belief that viewers would forget this films about Rockstar Games and their GTA series. Why else would the company members constantly wear various tops, each with the respective logos emblazoned upon them?

There's a good story worth telling about Rockstar Games, their creation of Grand Theft Auto, and the many controversies which they've encountered. Unfortunately, The Gamechangers is more like an example of what not to do.