If you’ve ever seen The Player (1992) by Robert Altman, then I’m sure you know how amazing it is. From its foreshadowing movie posters to the symbolism in the mise-en-scene, this film knows how to keep its audience intruigued. It had me leaning forward in my seat, feeling like if I had been sitting back, I would miss something important. This thriller is about Griffin Mill, a Hollywood producer, being threatened anonymously by a pissed off writer whom he had rejected some time earlier. Thinking that the only person it could possibly be is a writer named David Kahane, he invites him out to have a few drinks and further discuss his screenplay. The outing goes awry and Griffin ends up killing David — who turns out was the wrong guy. Not only does Griffin now have to hide his secret from the authorities, but he is also still being tormented by the anonymous writer.
First of all, let’s talk about those movie posters. They are everywhere! Each one is practically screaming, “Read me!” Not only does the camera zoom in on them, but the placement is typically in the background of the characters. It has just enough space to be read, but is still kind of hidden. It sort of feels like a subliminal message. If you watch the movie, then you’ll realize that these posters fit perfectly within the timeline. For example, one of them says, “M — The worst crime of all!” At this point in the movie, you’ll automatically think “murder” — you can guess who is in the shot.
Hint: When Griffin and David are in the bar, listen to the karaoke song.
I absolutely love the symbolism throughout the movie. It isn’t very noticeable (unless you’re looking for it), which is the best part. While the story progresses, Griffin starts to act crazier and more paranoid. He starts to fall apart. All of this is shown through his dialogue, wardrobe, and personality. His eyes start to look glossy and red, he looks like he hasn’t showered in weeks, and he starts to have outbursts and loses himself.
Another thing I noticed was that June Gudmundsdottir, a painter and one of the main characters, wears all white (all the time) and paints with white and frost blue colors. She’s very innocent and fresh, in comparison to Griffin, and hasn’t experienced much of Hollywood. Her paintings all seem sad, though, which kind of goes with her personality.
Tim Robbins was the perfect Griffin Mill. I feel like he pulled off his character impeccably. In general, I think they did a great job with the casting (There are so many cameos!). And the ending was awesome. Definitely one of those movies that everyone should see before they die.