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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2008
One of my favourite films of the 90's, clever isnt the word. Tim Robbins excells as Hollywood executive Griffin Mill, who gets himself in hot water when dealing with a writer. To make things worse it looks like his job is up for grabs as there are changes happening within his studio. Things dont look good. Someone is out to get him but who..? The Player is packed full of real stars and real screenwriters where brought in to pitch films. Many brilliant performances from Richard E Grants elaborate pitches to Whoppi Goldbergs crafty detective. The in-jokes come thick and fast. All in all, a top notch thriller from Robert Altman. My only criticism is i hoped the new dvd would have better extras. Dont let that put you off though. Top film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Famously opening with possibly the longest continuous single crane shot in cinematic history (eight minutes) with the pre-credits rolling, shot outside a major studio and its parking lot and known as the ultimate anti-Hollywood 'Hollywood' movie, this is Robert Altman directing with a grip of iron. Almost over-directed for my taste, the camera swoops, rises and peeks at more A-listers than you'd get in two dozen blockbusters.

Not having seen it in four years but with many many other films under my belt, I was keen to re-hear both the subtle and unsubtle jokes and jibes about the Studio 'scene'. All our A-listers make them, suffer them or just hang about thinking them up. One of the best has to be (executive travelling in his Merc convertible, on car-phone; it's the end 80's, start of 90's, all flash cars) talking to his associate, Tim Robbins (lead actor in this) "I'm on my way to my AA meeting." "Oh...I didn't know you had a drinking problem" "Ah, well. I haven't. I don't. It's just that's where all the deals are made these days. Not bars".

So, not a comedy, as such, but entertaining stuff and the ending is as predictably anti-predictable that one can predict. It's aged well and Short Cuts aside, which meanders over its three hours, this is modern, witty, well made and concise. Yes; an Altman film that doesn't have the cast speaking whenever they feel fit and a script that they have to follow, even at two hours it's got a manageable story that twists, turns and bristles with actors you've seen in almost similar roles. For movie buffs, the often, occasional credibility-busting film references and how they're strung together is almost hypnotic.

Hollywood loved it, as it's in it and stars in it. But they don't love themselves, at least not in this. And that makes it enjoyable. You might not take the movie as seriously as it mockingly thinks it is/isn't and is at times a little shallow. All in all though, The Player is a modern great and a must-see for all serious film fans.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2001
Based on an original novel by Michael Tolkin, Robert Altman's respose to Hollywood and all its pretences is a modern classic. The tone is consistently ironic throughout the film, yet The Player manages to succeed as a terse and involved thriller, not only a personal reflection of the treachery and immorality; falsity and inhumanity, of the world of movies. The Player is predominantly a story of studio executive Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins), and his demise from the most sought after Hollywood executive to a man plagued by his own prosperity. The film opens with an eight minute single-shot scene that establishes the glory of Altman's direction, and the film offers over 60 cameos, including Susan Sarandon, Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts, that only increase the satire. Through the course of the film, Altman manages to challenge not only his audience's conscience and morality, but also their perceptions of Hollywood. As Griffin Mill receives death threats, he is forced to decide how to react, and when he tries to find who has been torturing him, it leads only to more calamity. In a stunning third act and shocking denouement, Altman reveals one of the most inspired and exciting films of the 1990s. The Player includes, as well as numerous cameos from Hollywood actors, a wonderful performance from Robbins as a tortured and confused executive searching for answers; a suitably bizarre Whoopi Goldberg as a police officer; and an ironic, knowing rendition of the struggling screenwriter by Richard E. Grant. The Player is truly a monumental achievement. Robert Altman has succeeded in creating an involved, humorous film that manages to question the nature of the film industry, its role in today's society, and its implications for all those who have ever called themselves a fan of the silver screen.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This film is very enjoyable. There's so much there, you gotta watch it several times to enjoy all the lovingly subtle stuff in the background.

There's a thriller in there with the story of a stalker--life and death.

But the best bit is the in-joke about Hollywood, movie-making and those that straddle the business which is supposed to be artistic, but has been taken over by accountants and money-grubbing executives.

Enjoy the cameos, the clever bits, the story & the message. I sure did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 August 2010
This is full of great moments, great shots, great humor. It's almost a truly great film. But the few moments it gets too smug and/or cartoony for it's own good take a tiny something away from the 90% of the time it brilliantly walks the thin, nearly impossible line of perfect satire. When it tries to be funny, it pushes a little hard. But when it just observes the absurdity with a clinical, `this isn't too far from reality' eye, it's quite amazing. Even with it's minor flaws, a terrific film, and a must see film for any Altman fan - or film fan for that matter. The opening shot alone is worth the movie!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 December 2010
This film is one of the best hollywood satires ever made a must buy for any movie lover.
Tim robbins is a movie executive who screenwriters come to to get there scripts made into films when he starts recieving death threats from a screenwriter he turned down in the past his life takes a dramatic turn for the worst.
The thriller plot is great but conversations about films overheard in the background of the film are partly what makes this a very intresting film to watch again and again.
Tim robbins charecter is cooly played in what i believe is his best film.
if you dont watch this film you lose.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 July 2015
The stunning extended opening tracking shot of Robert Altman’s perceptive 1992 satire on the workings of Hollywood is not only an impressive technical achievement, as Altman’s cinematographer, Jean Lepine’s, floating camera eavesdrops (in typical Altman fashion) on tinseltown’s deal-makers, but it is also (essentially) the entire film in microcosm. Here, we get Tim Robbins’ 'executive producer’, Griffin Mill, debating a pitch, giving us a 'psychic, political, thriller, comedy with a heart’, a sort of 'Ghost meets The Manchurian Candidate’, and along with way revealing The Player’s full gamut of themes – namely Hollywood’s insularity, cultural ignorance, conservatism, arrogance, megalomania, extravagance, cynicism, pretence and (perhaps, most of all) focus on the bottom line. What follows is an innovative mix of (at times, Hitchcockian) murder mystery and black comedy, driven along by a witty, ironic script by Michael Tolkin (based on his eponymous book) and peppered with impressive acting turns which Altman mixes in (sometimes almost indistinguishably) with a vast ensemble of 'real-life Hollywood stars’ (assuming such a concept exists!) playing themselves.

The Player is likely to be a film particularly appreciated by cinema aficionados, with its constant string of references (dialogue, posters, books, photos, etc) but, perhaps more so than many of Altman’s films, its strong narrative – as Mill’s self-confidence is shattered by, first, the prospect of being usurped by Peter Gallagher’s incoming executive, Larry Levy, and, second, the 'poison pen letters’ (in the form of postcards, faxes, etc) he has started receiving (purportedly) from a disgruntled aspiring screenwriter – keeps us guessing and engaged throughout (increasingly mixing reality and fiction i.e. 'Hollywood-style tongue-in-cheek melodrama’, as the film progresses). Acting-wise, Altman’s cast is uniformly strong. Robbins nevertheless steals the show as the increasingly nervy, paranoid and desperate executive, struggling (in a satirical sense) to come to terms with his guilt, whilst Fred Ward is good as studio security man (and 'fixer’), Walter Stuckel, and Sydney Pollack, typically impressive as Mill’s lawyer and mentor, Dick Mellon (‘Rumours are always true’). There is also a brilliant cameo pairing of Dean Stockwell and Richard E Grant as (more) pitchers to Robbins’ deal-man (Grant being particularly full of impressive bluster). Greta Scacchi is also good as the laid-back, artistically-inclined (and oblique), June Gudmundsdottir, a stark contrast to the ambitious industry man.

It’s a film that perhaps meanders a little during its third quarter, but nevertheless concludes with another piece of cutting satire, making The Player, for me, a film sufficiently worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as other top films with similar themes, such as Sunset Boulevard, The Bad And The Beautiful, In A Lonely Place and Barton Fink.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 27 September 2008
Tim Robbins stars as Griffin Mill, a hot-shot movie studio executive who has the power to make or break people and careers. Griffin is the man who hears story pitches and approves them to be made or passes on them. One of the writers he turned down starts stalking him and then threatens to kill him, turning Griffin's life upside-down. One night he meets the writer in a dark parking lot and things get way out of hand. Griffin then has to stay one step ahead of a police detective (Whoppi Goldberg) while romancing the writer's girlfriend.

This dramady movie-within-a-movie exposes the cold and shallow side of the movie business with a scathing, nudge-nudge-wink-wink story and such obvious delight you can almost hear director Robert Altman giggling. Altman loves overlapping-dialogue and the film has an intimate, eaves-dropping feel to it. To make it even more in-crowd and hip, there are sixty-five celebrity cameos - everyone from Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis to Harry Belafonte and Cher. Some of the stars play themselves and others have bit parts. You really have to see the movie more than once to catch them all; clearly, a good time was had by everyone. Tim Robbins carries the film with his cocky confidence, and Greta Scacchi is cool and mysterious as his love interest.

The clever ending will make you smile and want to see it all again. The VHS version has some nice extras - a revealing interview with Altman and deleted scenes. Highly recommended, especially if you'd like to know what really goes on behind-the-scenes in Tinsel Town.
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Tim Robbins stars as Griffin Mill, a hot-shot movie studio executive who has the power to make or break people and careers. Griffin is the man who hears story pitches and approves them to be made or passes on them. One of the writers he turned down starts stalking him and then threatens to kill him, turning Griffin's life upside-down. One night he meets the writer in a dark parking lot and things get way out of hand. Griffin then has to stay one step ahead of a police detective (Whoppi Goldberg) while romancing the writer's girlfriend.

This dramady movie-within-a-movie exposes the cold and shallow side of the movie business with a scathing, nudge-nudge-wink-wink story and such obvious delight you can almost hear director Robert Altman giggling. Altman loves overlapping-dialogue and the film has an intimate, eaves-dropping feel to it. To make it even more in-crowd and hip, there are sixty-five celebrity cameos - everyone from Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis to Harry Belafonte and Cher. Some of the stars play themselves and others have bit parts. You really have to see the movie more than once to catch them all; clearly, a good time was had by everyone. Tim Robbins carries the film with his cocky confidence, and Greta Scacchi is cool and mysterious as his love interest. The clever ending will make you smile and want to see it all again. The VHS version has some nice extras - a revealing interview with Altman and deleted scenes. Highly recommended, especially if you'd like to know what really goes on behind-the-scenes in Tinsel Town.
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on 29 December 2012
Altman had a fascinating way of framing crowd scenes, with no master audio just all sound overlapping. That and the inherent voyeurism in this material make this film noir in the tradition of Sunset Boulevard as fascinating in its construction as it is in the storytelling.

Tim Robbins sleazy studio exec being tortured by an aggrieved writer spans all levels in Robert Altman's Hollywood satire, with countless Hollywood actors appearing as themselves. He must be on the money for 60 plus actors and creative types to appear as themselves. All this satire on the disposability of creative in the studio system is secondary to the story of Tim Robbins Griffin Mill and his murder case which plays with the paranoia of numbers, any number of writers could be torturing him and that unease is played with brilliant in Robbins performance and the haunting score by Thomas Newman.

The ending has a lot in common with a certain other 90s satire, only difference is this ending has humour. While not a patch on the genre's golden eras, the player is both a fascinating portrait of industry and a brilliant character led thriller that draws comparisons to American Psycho, Sunset Boulevard, Mulholland Dr. and Truffaut's Day for Night.
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