Playing God (film)

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For the 2012 documentary, see Playing God (2012 Documentary).
Playing God
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andy Wilson
Produced by Marc Abraham
Laura Bickford
Thomas Bliss
Written by Mark Haskell Smith
Starring David Duchovny
Timothy Hutton
Angelina Jolie
Michael Massee
Philip Moon
Music by Richard Hartley
Cinematography Anthony B. Richmond
Edited by Louise Rubacky
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
October 17, 1997
Running time
94 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12,000,000
Box office $4,166,918

Playing God is a 1997 film directed by Andy Wilson. It stars David Duchovny (in his first starring role after achieving success with The X-Files), Timothy Hutton, and Angelina Jolie.


Duchovny plays Eugene Sands, a surgeon who has his medical license revoked after operating under the influence of amphetamines and opiates. Hutton's character, a crime lord named Raymond Blossom, happens upon him in a bar where Sands saves someone's life with an emergency procedure to inflate a collapsed lung. Blossom hires Sands as his personal physician, patching up his accomplices when they cannot go to a hospital, and tending to the crime boss and his girlfriend, Claire (Jolie). In the final act of the film, Claire and Sands become involved, and he must face up to conflicting loyalties to Blossom, Claire, and the FBI agent who has blackmailed him into being an informant.



The film was finished in 1995 but not released until 1997 due to initial negative reactions from test audiences. The film's trailer contained a brief glimpse of a sex scene between Duchovny and Jolie. The actress later confirmed that she had filmed two sex scenes for the movie, but that both of them were edited out of the final cut.


The film did not fare well financially or with critics, scoring just a 14% at the review site Rotten Tomatoes[1] and making only $4,166,918 at the US theater box office.[2] Popular film critic Roger Ebert however, gave the film three stars saying "This may not be a great movie, but for both Duchovny and Hutton, it's a turning point", citing Duchovny's ability to "stand above the action" like Clint Eastwood; and Hutton's ability to create a real character as the villain, instead of merely filling a space.[3]


The song "Spybreak!" by Propellerheads was used in this film two years before its Stardom debut as the Main Song of the cult movie The Matrix (1999).


  1. ^ "Playing God - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  2. ^ "Playing God - Box Office Data, Movie News, Cast Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 
  3. ^ " - Reviews: Playing God (xhtml)". 1997-10-17. Retrieved 2013-01-15. 

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