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Player [Blu-ray]

Blu-ray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.99
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Amazon.com essential video

A wicked satirical fable about corporate backstabbing--and actual murder--in the movie business, The Player benefits from director Robert Altman's long and bitter experience working within, and without, the Hollywood studio system. Rising young executive Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) is tormented by threats from an anonymous writer. The pressure and paranoia build until Griffin loses control one night and semi-accidentally kills screenwriter David Kahane (Vincent D'Onofrio), who may or may not be the source of the threats. From that point, Griffin's life and career begin to fall apart. In keeping with the ironic spirit of the film itself, Altman's scathingly funny attack on the moral bankruptcy of Hollywood was embraced by many of the same people it was intended to savage, and restored the director to commercial and critical favor. Michael Tolkin adapted the screenplay from his own novel, and the movie is studded with cameos by famous faces, many of whom appear as themselves. The digital video disc includes a commentary track with Altman and Tolkin, some deleted scenes, a documentary about Altman, and a key to help identify more than 50 of the picture's big-name cameos. --Jim Emerson

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He's a player Feb. 22 2007
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Everybody in Hollywood takes the cheap-and-dirty approach to success -- even to successful murder.

That's the theme to Robert Altman's bitter, tart, and hilarious black comedy "The Player," based on Michael Tolkin's novel. The caustic observations and barbed wit bring Hollywood's nastiness to light, and Altman's minimalist direction only underscores the brilliant script and acting.

Exec Griffin (Tim Robbins) is nervous enough about his increasingly imperilled job. But then postcards with death threats start arriving -- apparently from a writer he lied to months ago. After some research, he thinks he's found the guy -- David Kahane (Vincent D'Onofrio), a POed writer whose script he mercilessly rejected. After a disastrous meeting with David, Griffin kills him in an alley.

But that's not the end -- the threatening messages keep coming, and Griffin becomes more desperate as he becomes a suspect in Kahane's murder. He also becomes fascinated by David's chilly artist girlfriend (Greta Scacchi), and tries to bury his fear in an awkward love affair. But as the investigation heats up, Griffin is threatened with the ultimate cancellation.

If "The Player" has a meaning, it's that everyone who wants power in Hollywood has to sell their souls -- legally, personally, or just by selling out so your movie has a pat happy ending. Like planets being sucked into a black hole, they all get pulled in by the lure of affluence -- they don't even notice their souls vanishing!

It's also wickedly funny to watch. Altman peppers the movie with celebrity cameos (John Cusack, Anjelica Huston, Bruce Willis, to name a few).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Hollywood satire Dec 31 2006
By Kona TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping & Hilarious! June 29 2004
Only Robert Altman could make a movie like this. With its huge, sprawling cast of talented actors and famous people dropping by for cameos, Altman has created one of the best Hollywood satires ever made. I think the only other movies gunning for this title would be "The Day of the Locust" and Steve Martin's "Bowfinger."
Recent Academy Award winner Tim Robbins plays a sleazy movie exec who deals with the writing talent. A bunch of mysterious and threatening postcards show up at Robbins's office, and a tense thriller unfolds. Interspersed between the classic thriller elements, Altman stuffs a making-the-movie subplot in there which pokes fun at Hollywood producers and actors, as well as developing a convincing and warm love story. How does he do it? He's Robert Altman, for Christ's sakes. And he does it seamlessly - by the time the movie is over, you're wishing it had just begun.
Altman uses text messages to get points across to the viewer, and the background becomes almost as important and pertinent to the plot as the physical action unfolding before you. Perhaps this is a comment on our celluloid-dampened minds and our inability to see, as it were, the "writing on the wall." For if the characters in this film stopped for a moment and saw where they were, what they were doing, and why, perhaps none of those people would be in trouble. It's a nice jab at our MTV attention spans, and hilarious when foreign films are mentioned Hollywood Types, who immediately clam up and say, "Haven't seen it."
Good times, indeed. You'll have tons of fun just pointing out the celebrity cameos in "The Player." Altman probably did this to give the audience the same awe-struck sensation they would get if they were amongst those power players.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Near perfect satire
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... Read more
Published on April 23 2011 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
Elle est formidable, vraiment unique, une vrai de vrai. J'ai adoré Whoopi Goldberg est vraiment la meilleure star. WoW Line
Published on April 22 2008 by Line Hallé
5.0 out of 5 stars "IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT, GRIFF..."
This is one of my all-time favorite films, a scathing, paced look at inside Hollywood that deciphers the netherworld of studio execs, producers, directors, actors and, most... Read more
Published on June 25 2004 by Steven Travers
5.0 out of 5 stars A Keeper!
This is a great movie! I usually shy away from Tim Robbins' work, ever since "Bull Durham" anyway. His politics are the reason, I cannot stand the sanctimonious "message" movies he... Read more
Published on March 6 2004 by S. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Making a "Killing" in Showbiz (4.5 stars)
Can movies about the movie business actually be exciting and worth watching? "The Player" most certainly is an exciting and worth-while film that has many layers within... Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2004 by Michael Crane
3.0 out of 5 stars ALTMAN'S HOLLYWOOD
A dazzling array of mega-celebrities in sometimes silent incidental cameo roles make Robert Altman's "The Player" like an autograph fantasy walk down Hollywood Boulevard. Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2003 by Guy De Federicis
4.0 out of 5 stars Smart, not what I thought it was going to be but better
Robbins does a terrific turn in this film about the cliques and backstabbing in the movie business. Over 50 stars make appearances... Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2003 by Alicia Walker
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but not the masterpiece it is sometimes said to be..
Tim Robbins is Griffin Mill, a Hollywood executive who spends his working day listening to pitches. He's made it, he's a player, an insider: big starts recognize him in exclusive... Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2003 by snalen
5.0 out of 5 stars The best anti-Hollywood film ever made by Hollywood
Griffin Mill is a young hotshot producer who everyone bows and scrapes to because he has the powers to get a movie made. Read more
Published on Aug. 17 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars A SPOOF OF ITSELF?
If Short Cuts, Gosford Park, Pret A Porter etc are anything to go by, Robert Altman does not make "simple" movies, not in the conventional sense of the word. Read more
Published on June 23 2003 by Shashank Tripathi
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