The Conversation

The Conversation

DVD - 2000
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A provoking mystery-suspense drama explores the morality of privacy in the story of Harry Caul, a surveillance expert, who conducts a routine surveillance job only to later find himself suspicious that he has become an unwitting player in murder scheme.
Publisher: Hollywood, Calif. : Paramount Pictures, c2000
ISBN: 9780792160878
0792160878
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (113 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in

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h
hecto
Aug 08, 2018

Coppola wrote and directed this in the early 1970s, between his two Godfathers and before Apocalypse Now. The critics speak highly of it, as do several of the reviewers on this site, so I thought I would see how well it has aged. Not well was my reaction. The concept is interesting as a foretaste of the surveillance state, but the film is overlong, with too many scenes that are self-consciously 'arty', a trait that dooms any movie. Sure, you can look for traces of Kafka and Dostoevsky if you like, but the film's message is not delivered with focus and economy - and too much time is spent belabouring the obvious. The surprise ending is right, and Gene Hackman's performance is terrific (in contrast to Harrison Ford's wooden walk-on). But I just could not see that this film lives up to all the praise it has been given.

n
Nursebob
Jul 04, 2018

A fascinating story of one man's horrific realization that it is impossible to meddle in other people's lives and remain morally neutral. The tragic consequences of his actions and his subsequent fall from grace are captured perfectly by Coppola's unblinking camera. Rife with religious imagery and a keen sense of sight and sound, this is an American classic

r
richibi
Oct 26, 2017

this is Kafka dressed up in late 20th-Century clothing - WOW - a man turning into a fly, metaphorically, of course, speaking, caught up in the technicalities of surveillance, then plagued by their moral implications - Gene Hackman gives the best performance here, however overlooked, however uncelebrated, of his career, he is the quintessential exisentialist anti-hero, bar none, move over Albert Camus - the cinematography, the blocking produce moments that are utterly painterly, exquisitely poetic - and the suspense doesn't let up till the very transformational end - a film to often revisit

k
kpriestman
Jun 02, 2016

I watched this because it was included in a list of films about privacy. It was great, portraying the issues of surveillance and its impact on our behaviour in a very thought-provoking manner. Some of the aspects of the film being shot in the bad old 70's really took me aback, but it made me think about the way our world has changed - in no small part due to the prevalence of interception of communication - and what that means for how we approach what we now intentionally share.

Its intensely slow pace was important. We had to hear some of the tape over and over in order to appreciate the point that communication is fallible, and so much of what we "understand" is really just our own perception.

JCLJanineM Sep 10, 2015

This is a great classic film that presages and frames the issue of technical surveillance in a way that is very relevant to today's world. Great acting with a great plot. If you're already paranoid about your privacy, don't watch it.

b
barbbicycle
Sep 05, 2015

Excellent movie one you get into it.
you must be totally focused to watch it.

ChampionMDR Jul 30, 2015

Really good , early flick suspense drama with Gene Hackman, Robert Duval and a relatively unknown Harrison Ford.

0
0cho
Jul 10, 2015

This movie is awful!! It so slow paced that you have to be doing something else while watching it or just fast forward. Nothing happens until the last minute of the movie. This movie is only worth watching to see all the stars when they were young and 70's lifestyle (clothes, cars etc). Don't bother with this movie, watch enemy of the state instead.

NewYorkViews Jun 02, 2015

The 1970s movie is slow paced because it shows the tedious work of a top professional conversational sound surveillance expert, and after ninety percent through the film, there is the fast paced thriller of a twist that is a bit scary. Several stars are in the film such as Gene Hackman, Harrison Ford, Robert Duval, Cindy Williams, Frederic Forest and others. This film is difficult to rate because it is so slow paced, but the acting, scenes, and script are superb.

v
voisjoe1_0
May 16, 2015

Warning! Don’t watch if there will be distractions. The Conversation, directed by Coppola, won the Cannes Palm d’Or for best film of the year, but it lost out in the Oscars to The Godfather, Part II. One director getting two Oscar nominations in one year might be a record. The Golden Period for Coppola – 1) The Godfather, 2) The Conversation, 3) The Godfather, Part II, and 4) Apocalypse Now – All ranked in the best 225 films of all time, all world, with The Godfather and Apocalypse Now in the top 10 of all time! (The Godfather Part II at 30 and The Conversation at 224). The Conversation is of the same genre as The Blow-up and The Blow-out - films where the protagonist is trying to perfect the evidence of a murder committed in the past, in the present or about to be committed. The Conversation adds the element of compartmentalization of personality in the attempt to avoid responsibility, but that can be hard to do for a fundamentalist Christian.

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m
Monolith
May 25, 2012

Bernie Moran: "I bet you there's no moment between human beings I cannot record - and there's no method I cannot figure out, huh?"

m
Monolith
May 25, 2012

Harry Caul (dreaming): "I'm not afraid of death... ...I am afraid of murder..."

m
Monolith
May 25, 2012

Martin Stett (on the phone): "We know that you know, Mr. Caul. For your own sake, don't get involved any further. We'll be listening to you." (plays back recording of Harry playing saxophone)

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