Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Player

The more you know about Hollywood, the more you'll appreciate the many, many references. The less you know, the more fascinated you'll be by this nasty machine from whence our entertainment comes.

Sex, violence and a happy ending - what more could you want from a movie?

How about a healthy dose of wit, satire and irony. This is a very smart Hollywood movie.

The film stars Tim Robbins as a studio executive living and working in Hollywood. Director Robert Altman uses the setting to his advantage - roping in about 60 cameo roles by well known actors, directors and other personalities. They appear briefly in the many shots of lush restaurants, cafes, offices and car parks that these insanely rich people occupy.

The opening shot of the film lasts for a full 7 minutes without a single cut, swerving in and out and around the workspace on the studio lot, with dialogue ringing out from all around. The setting quickly and very effectively established; this is a busy busy place, where important people talk to other important people (usually about unimportant things). The snatches of conversation we hear are  sparkle with wit, as two men walk by discussing films that are well known for their long continuous shots... right in the middle of this 7-minuter!

The plot basically kicks off with Robbins character receiving blackmail from a writer whose script idea he has evidently rejected... but the poor exec is so busy, he can't remember who it might be! After all, studios are approached by thousands of writers every year, but can only afford to make about 12 films. He pursues one lead and meets the guy (as well as his mysterious but alluring girlfriend), to demand that the threats be stopped. One thing leads to another and...

Well, I won't spoil, it's best you check it out for yourself.