The Parallax View (1974)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
While the Watergate scandal filled the headlines, Alan J. Pakula's 1974 thriller took its inspiration from the conspiracy theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination. Journalist Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) misses witnessing the assassination of a senator at Seattle's Space Needle, but his newswoman former girlfriend Lee Carter (Paula Prentiss) was there. Even after a government commission concludes that it was a freak lone assassin, Lee tells Joe that she fears for her life since other witnesses keep dying. After she too turns up dead, Joe investigates, travelling to the small town where another witness has mysteriously expired. Stumbling on a corporate identity for the killers, Joe decides to dig deeper by infiltrating the Parallax Corporation as one of their hired assassins. As Joe becomes increasingly isolated in his assumed identity, he discovers what Parallax is all about -- but Parallax knows all about Joe too. Made between Klute (1971) and All the President's Men (1976), The Parallax View was the second film in Pakula's "paranoia" trilogy; it proved too dark even for a 1974 audience that embraced such other challenging films of that year as The Godfather, Part II and Chinatown, making The Parallax View the sole flop of Pakula's trilogy. … More
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as Joseph Frady
as Lee Carter
as Austin Tucker
as Jack Younger
as Editor Edgar Rintels
as Sheriff L.D.
as Deputy Red
as Sen. Carroll
as Mrs. Carroll
as Art, an Assassin
as Sen. Hammond
as Former FBI Agent Tur...
as Commission Spokesman
as Commission Spokesman
as Tucker's Aide
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Critic Reviews for The Parallax View
For my taste the suspenseful set pieces go on much too long, and the message -- that right-wing conspiracy is built into the American political and corporate structure -- is overstated.
It's an astringently cynical take on official history, with Warren Beatty as a muckraker investigating the strange aftershocks of a senator's killing.
The thrills don't mount as the film goes on. They don't even accumulate. Once they are experienced, they dissolve so thoroughly that by the end you're likely to feel as cheated as I did.
Audience Reviews for The Parallax View
A smart, engrossing paranoid political thriller concerning a journalist (Warren Beatty) who stumbles upon a conspiracy in which a senator who was murdered three years ago might actually have been offed by the government. While it does not possess the same character depth such as say, "The Conversation", another paranoid political thriller, had, it still is exciting and watchable due to the twists it implements. The last fifteen minutes or so are particularly arresting, with sharp camera work which captures memorable shots, including its smart, cleverly pieced together grand finale, which doesn't disappoint.
Maybe I need to see this movie again, but I thought it was really slow and boring. The story was pretty good, though. Overall, it's okay.
Very slow paced and manipulative, but it's such a unique and powerful experience. Government conspiracies are either topics for very bad movies or very good movies, this is definitely one of the better. Warren Beatty plays such a great character and way of attaining the plot's information. This is more a cautionary tale about digging too deep and how there are forces at work that we aren't even aware of. For a 70s premise, this must've been shocking at its release and still sort've is. To have a sense of powerlessness is truly scary.
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