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Player [Blu-ray]

4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
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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
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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5.0 out of 5 stars "IF THE PRICE IS RIGHT, GRIFF..." June 25 2004
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 importantly, those over-abused prostitutes of the industry, screenwriters. Tim Robbins is Griffin Mill - smarmy, corporate and slick as cat manure on a vinyl floor. Robert Altman brought in an array of big names to lend this film their aura. Everybody was in it. Buck Henry pitches the best film idea that never happened, "The Post-Graduate", which is the sequel to "The Graduate".
Grif is getting poison pen mail and he explores it a little too much, leading him to an art house in Pasadena where he accidentally kills a teed-off scribe, then into the man's ice queen girlfriend. Plot twists and studio politics intersect, and Whoopi Goldberg is insane as the cop who knows Grif got away with murder, which he does.
There is no morality, just cold-hearted realpolitik. Do not miss Altman's interview at the end. Like "Sunset Boulevard", this one captivated and irritated this closed industry which still believes its press releases. Robbins is as good as it gets. This is sex and power, the ultimate aphrodisiac.
The plot twist that ends it is one of the best ever devised, with Grif and his blackmailer suddenly co-producers "if the price is right..."
As Matthew says in the Bible, "what does a man profit if he has the world but loses his soul?"
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4.0 out of 5 stars Making a "Killing" in Showbiz (4.5 stars) Jan. 29 2004
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 it. At first glance, this appears only as an odd thriller that's both bizarre and unbelievable--but upon further investigation, you'll find out that this is something that is so much more than your ordinary thriller.
Griffin Mill is a studio executive that listens to movie pitches on a daily basis. Some pitches are great while others aren't as fantastic. One of the writers that Griffin never called back seems to have held a grudge against him, as he sends him threatening post-cards telling the exec that his days are numbered. Not knowing what else to do, Griffin decides to confront the suspected writer only to end up being involved in a murder. As he tries to cover his tracks and play it cool, it is clear that Griffin has been thrown into an uncontrollable scenario that could only be found in the movies.
I admit that the first time I saw this film, I didn't really know how to react to it. I didn't know if I liked it, but I knew that I didn't hate it. And, I confess that by the end of the movie, I was scratching my head in confusion. It was the second viewing where I really found out what the movie was all about and came to love it. The movie is not your typical thriller. It actually is more of a satire that targets the movie industry and movies in general. And, it's done in such a way that you really don't catch onto that with the first viewing, as you're caught up in the story and are convinced that you're watching nothing more than a thriller. This movie has a number of layers to it--even layers that I probably haven't caught onto yet.
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By snalen
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 restaurants (though he has a lively sense of the fragility of these things and is assiduously watching his back.) David Kahane (Vincent d'Onofrio) is none of these things. He is an earnest young chap who wants to make it as writer but hasn't and isn't going to. Like thousands of others he has made his pitch to Mill and drawn a blank and his resentment still burns. Mill meanwhile is getting bitter and threatening postcards evidently from a rejected writer. He figures Kahane must be the man behinds this and they have a difficult confrontation which ends with Mill killing Kahane. The film has suspense, laughter, violence, sex, nudity: all the ingredients Mill lists to Kahane's ex, June (Greta Scacchi) as conducive to a film's being marketable. But it takes a certain ironic distance from all these features. As it does still more from a further ingredient on the list, happy endings. It's certainly an engaging, fairly witty film that is well worth seeing, an interesting study of fame, failure, success, desperation and cynicism. The most natural complaints would be that it suffers from too large a measure of the cynicism it examines and that the knowing self-deprecating irony is overdone - (perhaps to the point of protesting too much). And prehaps a more deeply and uncomfortably subversive film about Hollywood would perhaps not have successfully recruited quite so much of the A-list to do cute cameos as themselves.
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars He's a player
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... Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2007 by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Hollywood satire
Tim Robbins stars as Griffin Mill, a hot-shot movie studio executive who has the power to make or break people and careers. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2006 by Kona
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
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
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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