Ben Oliver

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The Parallax View

It makes me laugh, but I don’t think it’s funny.
23 September 2022

A down-on-his-luck journalist (Warren Beatty) investigates the assassination of a senator. As witnesses start dropping like flies he begins to uncover the bigger picture, uncovering a vast conspiracy before getting in too deep.

I’d been meaning to catch up on the so-called ‘paranoia trilogy’, and it’s only taken me three and a half years since watching All the President’s Men1 to finally watch another one of the films.

The script isn’t as good, but the direction is so meticulous that it’s easy to ignore any flaws. Every scene is carefully staged and beautifully executed, the whole thing sits on a knife edge ready to pop at any time. How on earth you can shoot in so many locations yet have every frame come out looking pristine like it’s on a sound stage is beyond me.

There’s an imposing aesthetic to it all that sucks you in. Pakula uses huge sets and shoots from afar, making you feel tiny in a big world.

What shocked me from a modern perspective was that Warren Beatty just walks onto a plane and buys a ticket mid-air like he’s on a bus. Different times…

Some films rub off on you. I caught myself looking over my shoulder in the street after this.

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