The Parallax View

The Parallax View

DVD - 1999
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Warren Beatty is a news reporter who, along with seven others, witnesses the assassination of a political candidate. When the other seven die in "accidents", the newsman begins to doubt the official position: that a lone madman was responsible for the crime.
Publisher: Hollywood, CA : Paramount Pictures, c1999
Edition: Widescreen version
ISBN: 9780792155508
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (102 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + scene card


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I had only been a student here in the Northwest for a couple of years when this movie came out. I actually saw it where my family lived (Chicago suburbs) on summer break. I wanted to take my friends to see it as it was set (at least partially) in the Pacific Northwest.

I remember being especially impressed by the photography/cinematography and the sound editing in addition to trying to figure out where the PNW scenes were shot. The Space Needle/Seattle Center was a no-brainer but I had no idea where the rest of it was filmed.

I had never revisited the film until borrowing it from the SPL. So here's my 'refreshed' review:

I still thought the camera work was really very good. Scenes were very well composed. Lots of use of dark/bright shadow imagery, especially in the convention hall scenes at the end/climax of the movie. The camera shots on location in the PNW were particularly spectacular, especially the scenes on the TOP of the space needle (the stunt work there was REALLY impressive) and the Gorge Dam on the Skagit scene. That particular scene was also very well augmented by the sound mixing of the dam opening against the struggles in the river itself. I felt that the cinematographer on the film (Gordon Willis) set off the Northwest scenery, both in the city and in the countryside, very well. So it was a treat to look back at a more 'innocent' time and history.

I felt that once the movie moved to SoCal it became more conventional in terms of style (if not in story line), so my attention wandered at times.

This film often gets compared to The Manchurian Candidate at it certainly has a number of similarities in terms of conspiracy movies. The Parallax View also followed the release of Executive Action, released the year prior (1973), which looked at a possible conspiracy theory for the assassination of JFK 19 years earlier.

So I would definitely recommend it for the PNW locations some 45 years ago, the photography and use of sound in the film, but to a lesser extent the overall plot and story line which, probably unfortunately seen through more jaded eyes, now seems naive and heavy handed.

Nov 03, 2017

This is the best conspiracy movie ever made. Beatty's performance is flawless. Interestingly, I have seen this movie so many times I can't even count.

of course it's fashionable, or even politically correct, to call this movie 'paranoid.' but the scenes of the "commission" pronouncing it's decision as to they whys and wherefores of the assassinations detailed in the movie, eerily remind one of the hubris of the Warren Commission's inquiry into the death of President Kennedy. presented directly after the scenes of the deaths, the contrast between what really occurred, and the governmental explanation (coverup) is heartbreaking. if I owned a repertory movie theater, this film would definitely be twinned on a bill with Oliver Stone's JFK. Warren Beatty is awesome in the lead role, does his own stunts; Paula Prentiss is quite convincing in her crucial role, even with a short haircut. William Daniels is good, and others in the cast play it like they mean it. Especially effective is the mélange of mind control images from mass media, hooked up with seductive soundtrack, to brainwash the volunteer viewer (Beatty). Come to think of it, I'd make it a triple bill, along with THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, the original, starring Sinatra, and Lansbury.

Oct 08, 2015

I love W.B. In scene three he is so freaking adorable I wanted to crawl through my tv. A very good movie.

Feb 17, 2015

Quite a good paranoid, conspiracy thriller from the 1970's.


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