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Fantastic movie. Witty and original satire of Hollywood. Metafictional elements are perfectly integrated into the film.
Part 90s neo-noir, part savage Hollywood satire, Robert Altman's The Player has a lot of fun with its material, especially on a meta-textual level. We have characters talking about long tracking shots while a long tracking shot is underway. We have dozens of big star cameos doing Altman a solid, mixing with recognizable faces playing even small roles. We have the story itself being one of the pitches heard during the film, daring you to decide where it was, itself, manipulated at the studio level. Lingering shots on movie posters that comment on the action. Everyone pushing for realistic endings (and tell me if the way this crazy story is resolved isn't actually realistic). It's a film about film-making (as a product? as art? dramatic ironies are well conceived) that knows, but hides, that it is itself a film (product? art?). I wonder how much of the producers' cynicism is based on Altman's real-life experiences in Hollywood. Probably 100%.
So many cameos! Brilliant film, manages to be thoroughly original despite being one great big satire. I particularly enjoyed Richard E. Grant.
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In 10 official lists
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This movie ranks #97 in Golden Globe Award - Best Motion Picture
This movie ranks #137 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
This movie ranks #165 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films: 1001-2000
This movie ranks #224 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #241 in Geoff King's Film Comedy
This movie ranks #672 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
This movie ranks #704 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #846 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #934 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
This movie ranks #955 in The Criterion Collection