Agent of Fortune

12 Aug 2013: The Player (DVD, 1992, Robert Altman)

Starts off with a very impressive nine-minute tracking shot, but then does away with such long-take style altogether (as Dave Kehr says about Raiders of the Lost Ark, it makes fun of its own terms – characters talk directly about similar shots in Touch of Evil and The Sheltering Sky) for traditional Altman zooms, wanders, and cuts immediately following jokes and awkward moments. I still love – expand into, open up for, smile with – the humorous atmosphere he can generate with his often-improvising overlapping ensemble cast, even though I’ve seen him do it around ten times already, and much of the dialogue is sort of shallow and televisionish (overly familiar and undifferentiated personalities). The angry screenwriter and the murder seems a little out of place and exaggerated for the rest of the piece, but appropriately and differently for Hollywood the crime ends up unpunished and inconsequential.

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