2.19.2011

7Roulette - THE PARALLAX VIEW

No 1970s movie marathon is complete without the political thriller. Or without Warren Beatty. Thanks to Alan Pakula for condensing these for us. The Parallax View is everything you would expect it to be. This is usually considered a positive statement in reviews, especially amongst modern film critics, but it's just nicer way of saying formulaic. If you're going to tackle a tired genre, show your audience something they've never seen before. Take risks. A few edgy dolly shots is not going to hold my interest any more than a dog taking a shit with its leg lifted. A mild forgotten amusement. Part of our job as artists is to be constantly challenging ourselves to move outside the box. This does not. B-

- Jess


One of the countlessly fascinating things about film in the 1970s was that, while the indies were taking over, mainstream Hollywood 'fluff' emerged in its own rebirth & managed to buoy as sharp entertainment. & the two genres that seemed to dominate were the disaster movie & the political thriller. (As an interesting side note, the 1990s would mirror this entire scenario exactly). The reason these otherwise mundane genres were able to sustain this sharpness is attributed to what seemed to be a unanimous technical craft. The Parallax View is incredibly straightforward as a movie-movie. It's rigidly simplistic (as opposed to refreshingly simple) in all aspects except the visual end - which is 97% of any movie. Pakula treats this particular piece of 'fluff' like a lead weight & creates a visual tension with wide angles, long lenses, & angular compositions in a world of flat, boxy architecture. He exhilarates when & where the movie itself does not. B-

- Paul

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