The Player (1992)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Movie Info

Robert Altman takes a scalpel to Hollywood ethics in the 1990s (or the lack thereof) in his acidic satire The Player, adapted from Michael Tolkin's novel. (Tolkin also wrote the screenplay.) 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 … More

Rating: R (for language, and for some sensuality)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Michael Tolkin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 16, 1997
Runtime:
Fine Line Features

Cast


as Griffin Mill

as June Gudmundsdottir

as Walter Stuckel

as Detective Avery

as Larry Levy

as Joel Levison

as Bonnie Sherow

as David Kahane

as Civella

as Himself

as Tom Oakley

as Dick Mellon

as Detective DeLongpre

as Steve Reeves

as Whitney Gersh

as Herself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Sandy

as Jimmy Chase

as Reg Goldman

as Frank Murphy

as Marty Grossman

as Gar Girard

as Witness

as Eric Schecter

as Carl Schecter

as Walter

as Rocco

as Himself

as Herself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Herself

as Herself

as Himself

as Herself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Herself

as Herself

as Herself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Herself

as Herself

as Himself

as Herself

as Detective Broom

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Herself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself

as Himself (uncredited)
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Player

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (11)

[It's] supposed to be scathing, but the pleasure it affords is like what you get from watching the Oscars: celebrity spotting and in-jokes.

Full Review… | April 28, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Mercilessly satiric yet good-natured, this enormously entertaining slam dunk quite possibly is the most resonant Hollywood saga since the days of Sunset Blvd. and The Bad and the Beautiful.

Full Review… | April 28, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

A movie about today's Hollywood -- hilarious and heartless in about equal measure, and often at the same time.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Mr. Altman's most subversive message here is not that it's possible to get away with murder in Hollywood, but that the most grievous sin, in Hollywood terms anyway, is to make a film that flops.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

[Altman] sticks it to every target, himself and us included, with a wicked zest that hurts only when you laugh.

June 6, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Altman lets us vacation in Hollywood for a bit but not too long to feel smothered

Full Review… | January 19, 2014
7M Pictures

Audience Reviews for The Player

½

Brilliantly constructed comedy drama, The Player is a richly detailed effort, one that has a well layered story that keeps you involved because you are left wondering how this will end. Hearing great things about the film, I gave a shot, but at times I felt like it was a bit overrated. The Player is far from a bad film and what we have here is a very good picture that combines effective storytelling with wonderful acting. I enjoyed the film, and felt it was well done, and it definitely kept you on the very edge of your seat despite the lack of truly entrancing storytelling. To me, this is a film that works well enough to make you think hard, and you get sense of that when you watch the film, but at the same time you wonder why the film has gotten so much praise. Tim Robbins is as usual in top form here and he acts quite well and he's a wonder to watch here on-screen. The Player is one of those movies that tend to be overhyped, but once you see it you are left wanting a bit more as well. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the film, but I simply didn't enjoy it as much as what everyone did. This is an engrossing picture, but there is a few times where the film could have been improved upon. Overall, this is well worth seeing, and it's a film that merits recommendations despite its flaws.

TheDudeLebowski65
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

Written by Michael Tolkin (based on his novel of the same name), this is Robert Altman's middle finger to Hollywood and its ethics (or lack thereof) about a jaded and smooth talking studio executive named Griffin Mill. mill spends most of his day listening to movie pitches, and is very callous when it comes to picking what his studio should green light. He's in danger of losing his job to an even slicker rival, and more importantly, he begins receiving death threats from a disgruntled screenwriter whom he shafted. Fed up, Griffin commits a little murder, and begins wooing the victim's lady. Things get even MORE shaky when he realizes he may have killed the wrong writer.

This is a fairly scathing satire, but Altman said it's actually rather gentle. I was somewhat disappointed by this, as I had been lead to believe that this was a very bleak and ruthless look at the screwed up world of the Hollywood system. I still really enjoyed the movie, and I loved how Altman successfully bit the hand that fed him, but it just ended up being something a little different from what I was hoping for. Ironically, this was a big hit for the director, and it was part of his early 90s renaissance that revitalized his long but flailing career.

The film has great production values, and is pretty intelligent with its aims. The legendary opening is a roughly 8 minute long take that tracks through the studio lot, weaving in and out of Griffin hearing various (and ridiculous) movie pitches. What really makes it shine is that it is a long take that makes several references to other famous long takes, and all of the dialogue was improvised. That's how you start a movie!

The Player is also well known for having around 60 or so cameos by many well known entertainers, some for maybe just a second or two, with many of them appearance for little to no pay. I'm not going into all the details of who shows up, but trust me, there's plenty of recognizable faces. The main cast is where the film is also quite strong, with Tim Robbins's performance as Griffin being one of his best. Whoopi Goldberg and Lyle Lovett are also pretty good as two detectives who firmly believe that Mill is guilty, and will stop at nothing to prove it. I also really liked Peter Gallagher as Mill's rival.

All in all, this is a really good film. It's a tad overrated, but still worth checking out, especially if you dig Altman, satires, and/or movies about movie making.

cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

½

A masterpiece only overshadowed by his next film (Short Cuts), Altman's Hollywood satire is a hilarious and disturbing look at Hollywood.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

The Player Quotes

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