“Every time you turned around, some nut was knocking off one of the best men in the country.” Joe Frady
The most lucid and ingenious, the most deeply, creepily satisfying of paranoia thrillers, The Parallax View posits an assassination corporation behind (one presumes) the murders of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) is on to Them, or so he believes… Pakula and cinematographer Gordon Willis (Klute; The Godfather) elaborate an oblique but unmistakable unease with each and every frame (its appropriate that the title should derive from a technical camera term, the slight difference in an image between the viewfinder and the lens). The movie has a sinister sheen, noir in the sunshine, with several memorably staged set pieces, and Pakula’s attention to sound design runs just as deep as his commitment to the image… its specific, but subtle, like the evocations of the Nation in Michael Small’s fine score. Best of all: the Rorscharch / Indoctrination montage which the Parallax Corporation shows Frady, a barrage of iconography situating racism, genocide and war next to mom and apple pie.
Oft considered the mother of conspiracy films, The Parallax View remains Pakula’s greatest achievement, a nightmarish thriller which shines a light into the darker corners of American life, revealing the sinister figures who help shape the modern political landscape.
Steve Timms, Story
Beyond all of the terrifying modern-day implications and parallels, The Parallax View is just a damn fine paranoid thriller. It forms the middle part of Pakula’s loose trilogy of paranoid thrillers beginning with Klute in 1971 and ending with All the President’s Men in 1976.
Kyle Anderson, Nerdist
With the tagline ’As American as apple pie’, The Parallax View makes a promise to the viewer right off the bat: the movie we’re about to see is not just American, but an encapsulation of what it means to be American. It’s difficult to look back upon films from the 1970s without imbuing them with the country’s political climate – the aftershocks of JFK and MLK’s assassinations, the Vietnam War, Watergate – but few of them actively reinforce their ties to reality. It’s essential that this one does…. In 1974, the film was a deftly-packaged gift to the paranoid, disillusioned public; today it caters to a similarly anxious audience, one caught in the crosshairs of insurrection, global malady and rampant racial inequity.
Saffron Maeve, Little White Lies
Aug 11 Only: Introduction from local writer Mike Archibald
Alan J. Pakula
David Giller, Lorenzo Semple Jr.
John W. Wheeler
More Films in This Series
Dog Day Afternoon
Based on a true story of a New York bank robbery which turned into a hostage siege (and a media spectacle), Sidney Lumet's gripping movie showcases a bravura performance from Al Pacino as the homosexual, married, unhappy, decent, confused bank robber.
The biggest hit from the 70s phase of Brian De Palma's career, Carrie takes Stephen King's horror novel about a troubled telekinetic teen and weaves it into a purely cinematic rhapsody of angst and (retali-)elation, what Pauline Kael termed "a terrifyingly lyrical thriller".
All the President's Men
This gripping account of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's investigation into the Watergate break-in is a masterclass of cinematic craft from director Alan J Pakula (Klute; The Parallax View) and DP Gordon Willis (The Godfather).
The Parallax View
The most lucid and ingenious, the most deeply, creepily satisfying of paranoia thrillers, Alan J. Pakula's film posits an assassination corporation. Reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) is on to Them, or so he believes…
A passion project for producer-star Warren Beatty, this frothy boudoir comedy of Beverly Hills manners views its hairdresser hero's bed-hopping with a certain sadness. Goldie Hawn, Julie Christie, Lee Grant and Carrie Fisher come along for the ride.