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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Player (1992)



Reviews and Comments

Robert Altman has come up with a scathing satire of the Hollywood movie-making machine. (In the interests of realism, Altman amassed over 65 celebrities to make cameos throughout.) Tim Robbins leads the cast as a sleazy studio executive who begins receiving threats on his life. As macabre as the story may sound, it's actually a comedy and frequently very funny. As is common with Robert Altman films, the humor doesn't have any punchlines, which means that some of it will fly over many viewers' heads while the rest will be hurled into uncontrollable fits of laughter. (The snatches of conversation overheard during the prolonged tracking shot at the beginning, for instance, are hilarious and set the tone for the rest of the film.)

The message at The Player's heart, cemented by a startingly appropriate ending, will have avid filmgoers -- this film's intended audience -- cheering and mourning at the same time.