Directed by Alan J. Pakula (All the President's Men, Sophie's Choice), this is an excellent, paranoid thriller and a benchmark for films of this type from the 1970s. Warren Beatty (Bonnie and Clyde) plays Joseph Frady, an ... more »arrogant investigative reporter who witnesses the assassination of a United States senator and then discovers that other reporters who were on the scene are dying under mysterious circumstances. With the help of his editor (Hume Cronyn), Frady goes underground to infiltrate the Parallax Corporation, which uses mind control to train assassins. And Frady might be the next one in line to take a fall. Featuring a classic brainwashing sequence and laced with intensity from start to finish, The Parallax View is essential viewing for fans of the political thriller genre. --Robert Lane« less
"Beatty plays journalist investigating mysterious deaths of witnesses to a political assassination.Pakula's dark and paranoid masterpiece was origninally shot by Gordon Willis (Godfathers I II and III, Klute, Zeilig, etc.) in 2.35 aspect. Willis, a master of light and composition, developed frames for this film that are practically abstract. His sense of composition (I'm sure Pakula was part of this) is brilliant: the static formalistic compositions; the use of long lenses to flatten each image into an (almost) isometric projection.Now, maybe I'm getting carried away here, but "parallax" and "isometric"...? Hmmm... Both are terms related to geometry the "perception" of reality -- which is more-or-less the subtext of this film.Anyway, after its dissapearance from theater screens this film made numerous appearances on TV (mainly late at night) in a pan-and-scan version. Same with the VHS version. So until the DVD was released, this was the only way I (and most other people) had seen it.Well twice the frame is twice as good -- now entire sequences can be re-examined and reinterpreted (the ending has elements which appeared seperated in the VHS version).I found the picture and sound to be good, but I'd hoped for more additional material (a documentary, a making of, an interview or two -- anything). This is certainly one film that deserves the extra attention. However I'm grateful for the 2.35 version.Bottom line: a real treat for cinephiles, and a great movie for everyone else."
The Hero's Journey To Fool
El Kabong | 06/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Reminds me very much of THE WICKER MAN (released that same year of '74) in that both films chart the nightmarish progress of men who are seeking to uncover a mystery and right a great wrong, who must plunge into disorienting environments where none of the rules they adhered to back in the 'normal world' apply; they can't get their footing, and quickly become controlled by events. By the time they realize their every step has been not just watched but directed from the beginning...it's too late.Warren Beatty's Joe Frady, a minor reporter in the Northwest, begins investigating the deaths of witnesses to a political assassination he'd covered three years before. He stumbles upon literature from The Parallax Corporation, an outfit he comes to believe are clandestinely recruiting & training assassins; he decides to penetrate the group as a 'job applicant', armed with a mass-murderer's psych-test responses and a false identity. He has made a slight but fatal error in judgment, however, for Parallax are in the business of identifying and grooming fall guys - custom-built, designer patsies to draw attention from their trained cadre of actual assassins during the deed, then to be killed in the ensuing melee. Ingeniously, Parallax carefully select appropriate moody-loner backgrounds that will satisfy official inquiries into the murder that the killer was a certified strange-o, thus acting alone. The first half of PARALLAX plays like a standard macho action picture: barroom brawls, car chases, grouchy editors, redneck cops, sexually forthright women swarming over the studly maverick hero. Stay with it, however. The second half is obviously the movie Beatty, Pakula and Gordon Willis were after - stark, overwhelmingly visual, mountingly claustrophic yet set in vastness (every interior set is like an aircraft hangar; even the catwalk goes on forever). The car chase bravado of the first hour is long forgotten by this point, with Beatty assuming the holy-fool status of Edward Woodward's stiff-necked policeman in THE WICKER MAN. While it's true the two halves of this film never do fit together comfortably, the nightcap of this double feature ranks among the best moviemaking of the 1970s."
The paradigm for paranoia
E. Frampton | Wexford, PA United States | 09/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Parallax View is the ultimate paranoia film, bar none. It is the standard by which all other films of this genre are judged. In other words, it is a classic. It combines stellar direction with a very believable performance by Warren Beatty to create a film that has no equal. From the opening on the Space Needle, it is obvious this movie isn't going to be run of the mill. From there, every plot line just gets bigger and bigger, until everything envelops Warren Beatty to form the film's stunning conclusion. Alan Pakula would eventually follow this film up with All The Presidents Men, that film is good, but this film is great. It stands as his masterwork, and it is the best of the 70's paranoia pictures."
"70's Paranoia At Its Best!
franksoprano | 11/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Parallax View" remains one of the classic paranoid conspiracy thrillers of the 1970's.Released during the height of the Watergate revelations and just a few years after the assassinations of the sixties, "Parallax" played on the general public mistrust of the government, politicians and big monolithic corporations.Director Alan Pakula ("All The President's Men") gives the film a stunning visual style (the reporter hero (Warren Beatty) is continually shown being dwarfed by the large Parallax steel and glass headquarters)and the short film Beatty is told to watch as he attempts to infiltrate the Parallax conspiracy remains one of the best moments ever in a feature film.The quality of the DVD is superb (especially considering the film is almost 30 years old), images are sharp and clear.However,considering the film's dense subject matter, one would have hoped Paramount would have included some additional special features (interviews with political activist Beatty, screenwriters Lorenzo Semple Jr. and David Giler; making of featurette etc).Example: the final shooting script of "Parallax" is completely different from the original screenplay that was written by Semple; Beatty changed the character of the hero from a small town cop to an investigative reporter.The only special feature included on the DVD is an well produced 1974 theatrical trailer.However, the widescreen version of the film is a far improvement over the pan and scan version available on VHS.Conspiracy buffs still find "The Parallax View" one of the best films of the genre."
Re brainwashing sequence
johnyoung38 | Liverpool, Merseyside United Kingdom | 09/26/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I also think this is a very good movie... I'd like to give an extra special mention to the audio visual experience that is the psychometric test which Beatty undergoes. It is an example of wonderful film-making - still images and text being manipulated by a great director - perfectly pitched with the soundtrack. A must-see for students of Film and Graphic Design because it reminds people that low-tech film making in the hands of someone with an idea can be more effective that a mega budget piece of rubbish - it could be seen as a brilliant technique to exploit storytelling on the net while we still have to put up with low band width streaming. ..."