The Parallax View
Abrasive journalist Warren Beatty discovers and attempts to infiltrate a recruiting agency for assassins in this '70s political thriller from director Alan J. Pakula. This might have been a dry run for Pakula in the investigative journalism genre before his next film, All the President's Men, two years later. While the first 40 minutes are largely undistinguished, the latter half of the film comes alive with a string of terrific, riveting sequences, including a disturbing 5-minute montage of words and images used by the Parallax Corporation to gauge potential assassins' psyches. Parallax View is mired deep in the conspiratorial paranoia of the Nixon era, and is full of thinly veiled jabs at the Warren Commission and bureaucratic cover-ups. Gordon Willis' cinematography looks stark and beautiful in this gorgeous transfer of a film whose previous home video incarnations were muddled and murky. There is, however, a bizarre abundance of barely noticeable jump-cuts, which appear to be clumsy attempts to meld different takes into one shot. Haven't these guys heard of cutaways? Also with Hume Cronyn and William Daniels. Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen, 16x9 enhanced, and a Dolby 2.0 remix which does nothing to improve the movie's inconsistent audio levels. Trailer, keep-case.