The Player | Chicago Reader

The Player

Entertaining but shallow, this 1992 Hollywood roast of the film industry—directed by Robert Altman, and adapted by Michael Tolkin from his own novel—is supposed to be scathing, but the pleasure it affords is like what you get from watching the Oscars: celebrity spotting and in-jokes. The setup is a would-be noir situation: a studio executive (Tim Robbins) nervous about his position starts to get anonymous threatening mail from a disgruntled screenwriter and winds up committing a murder. As is customary in Altman ensemble pieces, the surface activity keeps one occupied, but never adds up to much because none of the characters is developed beyond the cartoon level; and the snobby sense of knowingness that's over everything is uncomfortably close to what the movie is supposed to be dissecting. With Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Gallagher, Brion James, Cynthia Stevenson, Vincent D'Onofrio, and more than 60 cameos.

Credits

Director:

  • Robert Altman

Cast:

  • Tim Robbins
  • Greta Scacchi
  • Fred Ward
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • Peter Gallagher
  • Brion James
  • Cynthia Stevenson
  • Vincent D'Onofrio
  • Dean Stockwell
  • Richard Grant
  • Lyle Lovett
  • Dina Merrill
  • Angela Hall
  • Leah Ayres
  • Paul Hewitt
  • Randall Batinkoff
  • Jeremy Piven
  • Gina Gershon
  • Frank Barhydt
  • Mike Kaplan
  • Kevin Scannell

Writer:

  • Michael Tolkin

Producers:

  • Cary Brokaw
  • Michael Tolkin
  • David Brown
  • Nick Wechsler

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