The Player

Watch The Player

"Everything you've heard is true!"
  • R
  • 1992
  • 2 hr 4 min
  • 7.5  (66,074)
  • 86

The Player is a satirical comedy-drama film from 1992, directed by Robert Altman and starring Tim Robbins as Griffin Mill, a Hollywood executive on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The film is set in the cutthroat world of the film industry, and it provides a sharp critique of the system of power and corruption that exists within it.

Griffin Mill is a hotshot producer at a struggling movie studio who spends his days listening to pitches from desperate writers hoping to sell their scripts. When he receives a postcard from a mysterious writer who claims to know that Griffin is responsible for stealing his work, the executive goes on a wild goose chase to identify the anonymous scribe – one that will eventually have dark consequences.

As the story unfolds, Griffin finds himself caught in a web of intrigue and suspicion, as he tries to balance his professional ambitions with his growing paranoia about who might be trying to bring him down. Along the way, he becomes entangled in a romantic triangle with two women: the enigmatic British executive June Gudmundsdottir, played by Greta Scacchi, and the seductive artist Bonnie Sherow, portrayed by Cynthia Stevenson.

The film is characterized by a frenetic, almost improvisational tone, as Altman uses an expansive cast of characters and a complex plot to explore the various power dynamics at work in the film industry. In addition to Robbins, Scacchi, and Stevenson, the film features a who's who of Hollywood talent, including Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Gallagher, and dozens of other recognizable faces.

Despite its sprawling, sometimes chaotic structure, The Player is a tightly constructed film that manages to balance its numerous subplots and characters with skill and wit. Altman employs a variety of filmmaking techniques – including extended takes, long tracking shots, and overlapping dialogue – to create a sense of constant motion and unpredictability, while also drawing attention to the artifice and manipulation that lie at the heart of Hollywood.

At its core, however, The Player is a deeply cynical film that seems to revel in the flaws and failings of its characters. While Griffin begins the film as a sympathetic protagonist – a man struggling to navigate a complicated system and keep his job in an industry that values youth and novelty above all else – he quickly becomes a scheming, manipulative figure who will stop at nothing to protect his own interests. Similarly, June and Bonnie are both presented as cunning and opportunistic, willing to use their charm and sexuality to get ahead in a male-dominated industry.

Throughout the film, Altman takes aim at a number of Hollywood conventions and clichés, from the vapid celebrity culture to the industry's habit of recycling the same tired ideas and formulas. At the same time, he is careful not to glorify or sentimentalize the outsiders who struggle to break into the system; if anything, the film suggests that the only way to thrive in this cutthroat world is to become just as ruthless and amoral as the people at the top.

In the end, The Player is a film that is both entertaining and deeply unsettling, a biting satire of an industry that is all too often driven by greed, vanity, and empty promises. Altman's skillful direction and the strong performances of the cast ensure that the film remains engaging and thought-provoking from start to finish, even as it presents a bleak and unflinching vision of the movie business.

The Player is a 1992 mystery with a runtime of 2 hours and 4 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 86.

The Player
Where to Watch The Player
The Player is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Max, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Player for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 4 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (66,074)
  • Metascore