Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Player (1992) by Robert Altman

During the 1980's, master filmmaker and film pioneer, Robert Altman, all but fell off of the Hollywood map due to the studios and other business aspects of the industry that came into play that stopped the master from recreating his enormous success of the 1970's. In the early 90's, however, Altman came storming back with his 1992 film, The Player, a dramedy-meets film noir that only Altman could make.
The film stars a pre-Shawshank Tim Robbins as the studio exec. Griffin Mill. A young, slick smooth-talker that knows his way around the system. When he starts receiving death threats from an anonymous writer Griffin begins to fear for the worst. As the threats get more frequent he decides to take matters into his own hands.
From this point on the film takes twists and turns that I will avoid mentioning here, though most of them you can read on the back cover of the DVD case. The Robert Altman that made this film is the same one that made the 70's classics, M*A*S*H, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Nashville, 3 Women and A Long Goodbye, it is the same Robert Altman who would go on to make Short Cuts, Gosford Park and A Prairie Home Companion. He was lost in exile for nearly all of the 80's with the exception of the Phillip Baker Hall Tour De Force, Secret Honor and the surprisingly fun Popeye. The Player is a brilliantly crafted, fast-talking and brooding calling out of the way the Hollywood system destroys the artistic backbone of the motion picture.
Rated R for language, and for some sensuality

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