Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Player (1992) - Film Review

A satirical film that makes fun of the Hollywood Movie-Making Business, The Player is directed by Robert Altman who brings to life an intriguing and witty story that boasts a screenplay by Michael Tolkin. The film is based on Tolkin's own 1988 novel of the same name about a Movie Executive, Griffin Mill (portrayed by Tim Robbins) who after receiving death threats from an unknown source jumps to conclusions and murders who he thinks is threatening him. What comes as a result is a major guilt-trip as Griffin tries to hide the truth regarding what he did as the authorities attempt at uncovering the culprit behind the murder.

The mystery behind who is sending the threats to Griffin consumes most of the film's plot. But amidst the mystery plot, Robert Altman has managed to lightly criticize and mock iconic films and actors of Hollywood fame. Movies like The Bicycle Thief and Stand and Deliver and actors like Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis all make cameo appearances in the film. I thought that it was a brilliant idea to take what was there and make a fun play at it. I also thoroughly enjoyed the sharply written dialogue and talent in the movie's cast. The thing that at first really upset me was the film's ending. We never actually find out who the person that is threatening Griffin is. Rather, the film ends with Griffin receiving a phone call from the mystery person pitching him a movie concept and in a way, blackmailing him. But after walking out of the screening, I then realized why Altman chose to end the film the way he did. The film ends with Griffin walking into his house happy with his lover who is pregnant with their child, and escaping the murderous crime that he committed at the start of the film. It's portrayal and mocking of a stereotypical picture-perfect "Hollywood Movie Ending" was genius and looking at it from the perspective of how the film is a huge satire of Hollywood movies, this ending was indeed sheer perfection.

The Player was highly entertaining and engaging, and I most definitely recommend it to any film buffs out there who haven't seen it!

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