Friday, 14 March 2014

The Parallax View (1974)

Man, the 1970s are a different world. A world where you can walk onto a plane, and buy your ticket after it's taken off. It's very strange, in our post-9/11 environment, to see something like that in a movie.

In 1999, the movie Arlington Road came out. Despite generally being a fan of Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack, I didn't much care for the film. I found the plot preposterous: 'anyone smart enough to make that plan work is smart enough to come up with a better plan' was more or less my reaction. I like the film even less now that I've seen The Parallax View, which took a similar premise 25 years earlier and delivered it in a much more compelling, coherent and convincing fashion.

Reporter Joe Frady isn't much concerned when his former lover tells him she fears for her life. She's just a drama queen, he thinks, with her tales of all the witnesses of an assassination - of whom she was one - being murdered in turn.

He starts to reconsider when she turns up dead, however, and begins to piece together evidence of a secret conspiracy dedicated to finding and recruiting people with the right temperament to be assassins. His attempts to uncover the truth quickly lead him into danger, but Frady's not a man to give up easily, and he knows this could be the biggest story of the decade. But can one man, no matter how brave and resourceful, really expose a highly organised and sophisticated conspiracy?

This is a really well-crafted film, with genuine tension in many scenes, and some great cinematography. Well worth a look if you don't mind your films being rather on the grim side.

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