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New Line Home Video offers some of the best values on the DVD market; their Special Edition of THE PLAYER is a prime example. New Line’s DVD edition of THE PLAYER gives collectors a lot of great extras for a bargain price of $25.00.

With THE PLAYER, director Robert Altman takes a jaundiced look at the cutthroat world of Hollywood movie making. Tim Robbins stars as a Hollywood producer whose career has started to backslide, and he feels the sharks starting to swarm about him. To make matters worse he has begun to receive anonymous death threats from one of the many writers that he has blown off. Pressure from the death threats lead the producer to take action, and unfortunately he ends up killing the writer he believes responsible. A bout of guilt (and a bit of sexual attraction) leads the producer into an affair with the dead writer’s girlfriend. Of course, none of this looks good to the police, and the producer becomes the primary suspect in the murder investigation. As his life is seemingly falling apart, the business of Hollywood goes on, with the dealing, scheming and studio politics only serving to bury him deeper. THE PLAYER really is a great movie.

The plot and performances are wonderfully entertaining, and the film is made more enjoyable by the way it laces into the Hollywood machinery. The story is designed to be one of the best build-ups to a black comic punch line in the history of film. The cast of THE PLAYER is a virtual who’s who of Hollywood, with countless stars in cameos playing themselves. Tim Robbins is outstanding as the smarmy producer taken for a ride by fate. The primary cast also features Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Gallagher, Brion James, Cynthia Stevenson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Dean Stockwell, Richard E. Grant, Sydney Pollack, Lyle Lovett and Dina Merrill

New Line Home Video has given THE PLAYER a fine looking Letterboxed transfer which restores the film to its proper 1.85:1 theatrical framing. The transfer is nicely detailed and the colors appear quite natural. Digital artifacts were undetectable on this DVD.

The soundtrack has been given a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix for this Special Edition. This re-mix of an Ultra-Stereo film mix has some pleasing channel separation, but the mix primarily lends atmosphere to the film. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed surround soundtrack and a French language track. There is also an audio commentary track featuring director Robert Altman and writer Michael Tolkin. The commentary has been edited together to give the listener access to the most insightful bits of information about the production. Altman and Tolkin let the viewer know their motivations, as well as the deliberate purpose behind many aspects of the film. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus offer access to cast and crew biographies and filmographies, as well as scene access to the cameo appearances of over fifty actors in the film. The second side of this DVD Special Edition features a Robert Altman featurette, deleted scenes from the film, plus a theatrical trailer.

All in all THE PLAYER is a great film, and it richly deserves a place in most collections. The extras that come with this DVD make this disc a tremendous value and highly collectable.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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