Thursday, May 30, 2013

Film Review: The Conversation (1974)

The Conversation (Review)
United States/1974
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is known as the best surveillance expert around. He can record any conversation at any location. In fact, Harry is currently recording a conversation between young couple as they walk around a densely crowded and very noisy Union Square - a job that requires exceptional skill. However, process isn't the issue, instead the content that is captured haunts him...

Harry successfully captures the conversation and pieces it together revealing some chilling details. A moral dilemma emerges as Harry believes the recordings may lead to the deaths of the young couple. The issue is further escalated when his client, The Director, cannot be contacted and Harry refuses to give the tapes to Martin Stett (Harrison Ford), The Director's assistant. Harry tries to continue living regularly until he can contact The Director directly, but his thoughts are controlled by the tapes, his paranoia, and his obsession with his personal privacy.

The story in this film is great. However, it starts off slow and is often too slow for its own good. Fortunately, most of the story is complimented by the slow-burn pace. I like the subtle paranoia aspects of the film, they weren't overwhelming blatant or underwhelming dull - it was just right. A lot of attention to detail and some great foreshadowing. The film relies on its dialogue, and, luckily, it is very immersive. It's filled with fluent and authentic conversations of surveillance and Harry's past. The ending of the film is great - it played out perfectly. The film leaves a few unanswered questions, and the actions of certain characters are ambiguous - it's a bit unfulfilling, really.

The acting is fantastic. Gene Hackman plays Harry very well - he's very consistent, every little detail is perfect. I also really enjoyed Harrison Ford's performance, although he has limited screen time. The writing is exceptional, as is the direction of the fantastic Francis Ford Coppola. The editing is fantastic in this film, especially the audio editing as it really compliments the film. The music is also great, very well-fitted. Technically, the film is perfect.

Overall, The Conversation is masterfully made film of paranoia. There are a few inconsistencies and the story is often too slow, but it still manages to entertain. I highly recommend for fans of the genre.

Score: 8/10 
Parental Guide: Some blood and violence, brief nudity.

No comments:

Post a Comment