The Conversation Reviews
This movie is mysterious, thrilling, exciting, yet slow and also sometimes dragging in pace, which is the only complaint i can think about. The leading man, called Harry Caul, as he is portrayed by Gene Hackman, is an expert wiretapper and one of the most affecting, tragic and interesting characters in the history of cinema.
The writing is superb, it keeps you guessing, and the camera work is methodically slow and beautiful.
At the first viewing, you might be a bit confused or 'bored' because you have some sort of a clue what's going on but it doesnt seem all that interesting, but when the final moments hit towards the end of the film, you see the full picture, which makes latter viewings even more rewarding.
The Conversation is yet another masterwork by Francis Ford Coppola
You have to watch this at least a few times..
Harry Caul (Hackman) is a surveillance specialist who works for privatized companies. Using his equipment to spy on people's conversations, Caul is hired by a mysterious client (Ford) who has him tail a young couple. While going through the recorded material, Caul hears the subjects discussing that they may be in danger. Fearing he may have just participated in something terrible, Caul struggles within.
In most of his films, Gene Hackman is pretty energized. In this film, Hackman gives a shockingly reserved and subdued performance. It was an incredibly different performance compared to his other films. His character is really secretive, and doesn't enjoy talking about himself. Unfortunately, you don't really get to know the character, which makes it difficult to actually like him. However, you can tell he is struggling within, wrestling with the moral implications of helping his client. If not for Hackman's great performance, the central character would have fallen flat.
As a film, The Conversation is a tightly wound thriller that succeeds because of its tension. This film has to be digested. It's quite a slow burn to say the least. What makes it work is the writing and direction. The film's script is very well written. Francis Ford Coppola is a masterful writer and director. This film is very tense, and Coppola builds this tension throughout the film. As each minute passes, the tension rises. The climax of the film is incredible, and jaw dropping.
Unfortunately, I failed to enjoy the film as much as it seemed others did. The central character, while brilliantly played by Hackman, is largely uninteresting. He just isn't well written, and its hard to actually like him as a character when you know nothing about him. You are, like the other characters in the film, in the dark about who Caul is. Maybe this is what Coppola was going for. Finally, large portions of the film were noticeably slow for me. I feel this is a film I need to watch again to formulate my final thoughts.
"The Conversation" is in many ways an impressive picture. The writing, direction, and performances are top notch. The film is very well shot by cinematographer, Bill Butler. While the film is tense and thrilling, it is noticeably a slow burn. The central character-while brilliantly acted-is largely uninteresting. However, this is an impressive film in regards to its immense tension and shocking ending.