The Parallax View (1974)

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This is easily the least-essential of Pakula and Willis’ Paranoia trilogy, probably because the plot is the silliest and most pulpy of the three, but it’s still a great example of crackerjack thriller filmmaking.

I’ve been obsessing over Willis and Pakula’s collaborations on Klute and All the President’s Men throughout a lot of 2015 so felt the need to see the outstanding entry before the year is out. The two acheive a certain alchemy that is quite extraordinary, one of the great creative partnerships in 70s filmmaking as far as I’m concerned. Parallax View is sandwiched between those two movies and feels slight in comparison but still has a lot of fantastic moments. There’s a sublime cut early on that conveys the death of one character with real shock and the film stops around halfway through to show us a brainwashing film in full, perhaps in the hope that one of us in the audience might become brainwashed ourselves. I felt an influence from Frankenheimer’s Seconds and The Manchurian Candidate too which may be unintentional but the three would make a fun triple bill.

Not a film that got under my skin and psyche as much as I had hoped but Willis and Pakula’s filmmaking is so fucking on point. And hey, I’ve just seen another Warren Beatty movie!

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