The Player is the deep dish on Hollywood, 1992. 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.

The Player is the deep dish on Hollywood, 1992. 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.

Brilliantly scripted by Michael Tolkin from his own novel, plot hinges on a series of threatening postcards received by hotshot studio executive Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) from an ignored screenwriter. Mill tracks down the man he suspects of being the sender – the garrulous writer David Kahane (Vincent D’Onofrio) – has a few drinks with the man and, in a fit of anger, accidentally kills him. Mill is able to continue his normal life of worrying about being edged out of the studio by the newly hired Larry Levy (Peter Gallagher).

The postcards keep coming, but Mill initiates a romance with his victim’s sexy girlfriend, June (Greta Scacchi), then maneuvers brilliantly on a film project that provides The Player with its showstopping capper.

Centerscreen throughout, Robbins is superb as Mill. Whoopi Goldberg brings cheerful vigor to her surprising role of a Pasadena police detective. Scacchi gives the untearful girlfriend a contemporary, ambiguous amorality.

Glimpsed at restaurants, galas, parties, on the lot and just around, celebs from Cher, Nick Nolte, Anjelica Huston, Burt Reynolds, Susan Sarandon and Harry Belafonte to Jack Lemmon, Lily Tomlin, Elliott Gould, Rod Steiger and, hilariously, Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis, keep turning up. Made independently on a modest $8 million, the picture looks like plenty more.

1992: Nomination: Best Director, Screenplay Adaptation, Editing

The Player

Production

Avenue. Director Robert Altman; Producer David Brown, Michael Tolkin, Nick Wechsler; Screenplay Michael Tolkin; Camera Jean Lepine; Editor Geraldine Peroni; Music Thomas Newman; Art Director Stephen Altman

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1992. Running time: 123 MIN.

With

Tim Robbins Greta Scacchi Fred Ward Whoopi Goldberg Peter Gallagher Vincent D'Onofrio
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