The Player

Crime / Drama / Thriller / Comedy / Romance / Mystery
USA, 1992, 124 min

Directed by:

Robert Altman

Based on:

Michael Tolkin (book)


Michael Tolkin


Jean Lépine


Thomas Newman


Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Gallagher, Brion James, Cynthia Stevenson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Dean Stockwell, Richard E. Grant (more)
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The film concerns a sleek and smooth Hollywood studio executive who starts receiving death threats from a disgruntled writer because he has committed the ultimate Hollywood sin -- he promised the writer he would call him back and he never did. This is particularly ironic because the studio executive, Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins), is considered "writer-friendly," spending his days listening to pitches from such noted screenwriters as Buck Henry, who is pushing "The Graduate, Part II" and Alan Rudolph, who is hawking a Bruce Willis action film described as "Ghost meets The Manchurian Candidate." But The Player finds Griffin's comfortable life style in danger of collapse. He is trying to find a way to unload his girlfriend (Cynthia Stevenson) whose independence and intelligence make her a poor candidate for a trophy wife. More importantly, it seems that Larry Levy (Peter Gallagher), a slippery executive from Twentieth Century Fox, is angling for his job. And then there are those nasty postcards and faxes from a screenwriter threatening to kill him. (official distributor synopsis)


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Reviews (5)


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English I've always considered Robert Altman to be "my" director. That's because I don't mind his broadly conceived storytelling with many side characters, I'm not tired of the amount of subtle references to famous personalities of film history, groundbreaking works, and cult scenes. I am not bored by the typically Altmanesque lukewarm pace. I appreciate the precision and malice with which he disdains established practices of the film industry. In the case of The Player, I would avoid labeling it as a comedy, although some scenes may bring a light smile to your face. On the other hand, the elements of satire are unmissable. Among Altman's extensive filmography, I consider The Player to be his most mature work, dominated by the commanding performance of Tim Robbins in the lead role. He is, by the way, one of the three reasons why you should dedicate your time to The Player. The second reason is the clever screenplay and the last one is Altman's meticulousness. Overall impression: 90%. ()


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English A tribute to classic Hollywood, similar to Basic Instinct, L.A. Confidential, or Chinatown, except that Player, in addition to its criminal intrigue, paraphrases in its language the cradle of film in the early 1990s, the era of budding big budgets and big politics that we know so well from today's cinema. Altman plays with genres, unafraid of the many innuendos, unorthodox opinions and attitudes, and the poignant situations the main characters must confront. The participation of so many movie stars is impressive and adds to the exoticism. So, apart from the excellent screenplay, you see cameos and posters of old flicks on the walls every now and then. One of the seminal films of the first half of the 1990s, and dare I say, it gets better with age, as the years have added a unique premise of sheer nostalgia, which was not possible at the time of its making. ()



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English An extremely seductive and satirical neo-noir and probably the most honest mirror Hollywood has ever put in front of itself. The opening eight minute sequence in a single take is amazing, it materialises before our eyes a film studio with a focus on how new scripts are presented to a producer, and the story slowly begins to unfold around threatening letters, while clearly referencing famous long shots in the history of cinema; it immediately sets the tempo and the thematic scope of the film as a whole. It’s a typical non-Hollywood story that wonders through seemingly unrelated alleys, flaunting its own self-awareness, but also a classic love letter to the film industry, whose hypocrisy hides an inexplicable passion. The ending can be interpreted in several ways, and it’s certainly far from standard, but it fully fulfils the intentions of Altman and Tolkin and, what’s more important, offers cinephiles a similarly ironic satisfaction as Wilder did in Sunset Boulevard but in an emotional package. 90% ()


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English This film offers an equally corrupted "happy ending" as all other corrupted and tasteless happy endings in American mainstream Hollywood films. It's a sharp satire on life and work in the factory of dreams, where your ideals and visions are twisted and forcibly squeezed into a traditional commercial template and where your work is decided by people who are willing to walk over corpses for their careers. "That's reality." ()


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English A strange mix of comedy and thriller, a mix that surprisingly works, mainly because there's an incredible array of movie stars who make cameos, showcasing Hollywood and how it operates. But this film also has a clever screenplay, which gets the right climax at the end. ()

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