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the Thinking Chicks Guide to Movies

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The Parallax View (1974)

Reviewed on 2013 May 31

Disturbing, dense, political thriller about a skeptic who realizes his paranoid friend was right. It needs your full attention when you watch it, but it’s completely worth turning off your phone and ignoring the doorbell.

Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) is a reporter who, along with several other news people (this was before the talking head phenomenon), witnesses an assassination of a political candidate. One of his colleagues (Paula Prentiss) comes to him, completely spooked and trying to warn him that the people who saw the hit are all in danger now — including him. Joe, like many people, can’t fathom anything so deep, frightening, or plain crazy-sounding.

When he realizes his friend was right, Joe starts digging on his own and finds out that the assassination was somehow connected to a murky outfit called The Parallax Institute.

This is creepier than director Alan J. Pakula’s other political nightmare, All the President’s Men. Nixon was many things, but I don’t recall people dropping like flies around him. Beatty’s depiction of Joe was very effective, especially at the end when the look of realization washes over his face (you’ll know exactly what I mean when you watch it). The sparse score will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, and if you have a behemoth TV, watch the movie on that instead of a computer. That way you’ll get the full kick in the stomach from The Montage.

Three chocolate morsels. A little slow in parts; but worth it for the payload.


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