Events in the life of a Hollywood studio executive, unfold with the same unrealistic positive coincidences, ultimately culminating to a "happy ending", much like the movie scripts, with which he works day in and out, after he accidentally murders someone.Written by
The roughly eight-minute opening uncut tracking shot was planned with models before production began. The area of the studio lot used was repaved so the camera dolly would move smoothly. Director Altman rehearsed the scene with the cast and crew the day before shooting began. According to the American Film Institute Catalog entry for this film, ten takes of the scene were done, although another source states it was fifteen. See more »
At around 25'50" when Griffin is looking up Kahane's name in a registry, he finds 'Kalchime' on one page and then turns to the next page to find 'Kahane', despite it being an ostensibly alphabetically arranged book. See more »
Quiet on the set.
OK, everybody, quiet on the set.
Scene 1, take 10. Marker.
And - action!
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Robert Altman gets under my skin. His films are worthy of great respect, yet they are frequently as irritating as they are brilliant. The Player is, as much as Short Cuts, a quintessential Altman film. It is also one of the best roles Tim Robbins has ever enjoyed.
This film is about Hollywood's dark underbelly. The Player eviscerates its subject by twisting justice, political gamesmanship and artistic integrity into new configurations. For non-film-buffs or non-professionals some of the humor may seem too subtle to notice. To film buffs and insiders, the humor is totally over the top.
Robbins plays a young studio exec who is playing the game to win and seems, at least part of the time, to have a conscience. Everything is going along fine for him until he starts receiving threatening calls and letters from a writer whose screenplays he has rejected, and an arch-rival is promoted to a position just above his own. Paranoia and real danger seem in the periphery of every scene in his life, as the make-believe of his industry and the reality of his life begin to blend freely.
Robbins makes a character who could easily have been totally unlikeable somehow sympathetic. Despite his amazing performance, liking the character makes you feel as if you should go stand in a shower and exfoliate for an hour or so. He is supported by excellent supporting work all around. Especially good are the two major women's roles - played by Greta Scachi and Bonnie Sherrow, and veteran camp character Dean Stockwell.
The photography is liberally and amusingly lifted from several classic thrillers, mysteries and dramas, and comes off fresh and original - not at all like a DePalmaesque bit of visual plagiarism. And the pace is brisk.
The Player is probably my favorite Altman film, and it is easily my favorite Tim Robbins film. It's entertaining, intelligent and, well, it has a bad attitude. See it some night when you're angry and you need a good dark laugh.
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