Starring: Riccardo Scamarico, Valerio Mastandrea, Laura Chiatti
Director: Stefano Mordini
Running Time: 88 mins
The Players (Gli infedeli) is an Italian anthology film about a series of men who cheat on and betray their wives in a variety of ways, with consequences ranging from the hilarious to the devastating.
An interesting anthology with a sly sense of humour, The Players is a film that takes a while to fully reveal itself, but does so in effortless and typical Italian style, delivering a series of enjoyably devious vignettes fronted by two thoroughly entertaining leads.
Through the film, the main male characters are played interchangeably by Riccardo Scamarico and Valerio Mastandrea, who portray womanisers and cheaters of differing charismas and capabilities. The running theme through all of the vignettes, however, is that they’re pretty rotten guys, for a variety of different reasons.
And that’s one of the things that I really liked about The Players, that it lends focus to the theme of infidelity, but looks at it from many different perspectives, in which vein your own view of the topic changes from story to story.
On some occasions, the men are nothing more than sleazy womanisers, and you fully sympathise with the women that they’re cheating on. In others, the film is a little more balanced, looking at dysfunctional relationships and the way that they can lead to infidelity and the breakdown of a marriage.
And in one case, by far the best vignette of the whole movie, you absolutely fall under the spell of a charismatic but full-on evil cheater, as he goes to astonishing lengths to disguise his infidelity, to the point where his poor wife finds herself questioning reality. It’s a great bit of the movie, and a highlight of the stories’ sly humour.
Both Scamarico and Mastandrea are fantastic in the wide variety of roles they play in this film, along with the many women who star alongside them through the different vignettes.
As for the movie’s message, it’s clear as day that it wants to call out infidelity, but it does so in an impressively balanced and thoroughly entertaining way, making you think about the issue through its portrayal of infidelity from a variety of perspectives.
Overall, I rather enjoyed The Players. A fun and clever movie that still has a serious message to tell, the film counts on excellent performances and an enjoyably varied range of vignettes to tell its story, proving a thoroughly entertaining watch throughout. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.4.