The Parallax View

by Tom Ingram

Genre Conspiracy; Action
People Warren Beatty; Paula Prentiss; Hume Cronyn; William Daniels; David Giler w.; Lorenzo Semple, Jr. w.; Robert Towne w.; Alan J. Pakula d.p.; Michael Small m.; Gordon Willis c.
/10 9

After witnessing an assassination, a reporter (Prentiss) is murdered under suspicious circumstances. Her conspiracy-obsessed ex-boyfriend (Beatty, also a reporter) looks into the mysterious deaths of other witnesses, which leads him to a corporation that trains mentally disturbed people to be hired killers.

The 70s was a great time for conspiracy thrillers. This movie came out of that grand tradition. It invites comparison with 1975’s Three Days of the Condor, with which it shared a screenwriter. They pull many of the same tricks, but The Parallax View has more concessions to the viewing public in the form of gratuitous action scenes involving cars going over jumps. It starts off as a fairly dumb, if very well-shot, movie, but gradually becomes better and better until it culminates in the chilling training montage. The music in that scene was especially effective.

While the aesthetic is somewhat dated—the future looked very different in 1974—it’s very visually appealing. The acting is up to snuff but not astounding. Conspiracy movies just don’t do character. In all, it’s a very enjoyable little movie, though more sensitive viewers may prefer to watch with the lights on.

1h42m; 1974; Colour