Three Days of the Condor - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Three Days of the Condor Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 16, 2016
Movies this genuinely fun haven't been made since the 70s (except maybe the Coens' movies). Every action thriller from the 80s onwards got too polished and grand, loses touch with the characters. Holds up. Faye Dunaway is stunning and alarmingly hypnotizing.
June 13, 2016
CIA agent goes to lunch only to return and find his coworkers murdered. He then flees police and uses his skills to solve the conspiracy. Excellent thriller that is Pollacks best mainstream movie until 1993s The Firm.
May 30, 2016
One of those movies that becomes less interesting the more you understand about the plot, but it gets around that by having that cool, beguiling encounter between Von Sydow and Redford at the end. It's a pretty fun movie overall, especially in the ridiculously entertaining first act, even if the romantic relationship should have been removed entirely (that sex scene is just awful) and the music sometimes makes it seem like a parody.
May 1, 2016
Best film I've seen in years.
Super Reviewer
½ April 27, 2016
"Three Days of The Condor" in 3 words: action-packed, thrilling and exciting! Admittedly, it doesn't strike much of a blow for 1970s feminism (cuz what woman wouldn't immediately jump into bed with a handsome man after a home invasion at gun-point and being chained to a toilet all day?! That's hot!), but if you get past the very dated sexism, politics and technology, it's quite an entertaining film.
½ March 3, 2016
Joe Turner (Robert Redford) is a CIA analyst, code name "Condor". He works in a clandestine office in New York City, which fronts as the "American Literary Historical Society". Turner's task is to read books, newspapers, and magazines from around the world, looking for hidden meanings and new ideas. As part of his duties, Turner files a report to CIA headquarters on a low-quality thriller novel his office has been reading, pointing out strange plot elements therein, and the unusual assortment of languages into which the book has been translated. On the day that Turner is expecting a response to his report, he is shopping for staff lunches when armed men efficiently murder the six people still in the office. Returning to find his coworkers' bodies a frightened Turner calls the CIA's New York headquarters, and is given instructions to meet his Head of Department, who will bring him into safety. The rendezvous is however a trap. Wicks shoots an accompanying CIA staffer and attempts to kill Turner, who wounds his assailant before escaping himself. Needing a place to hide, Turner forces a woman, Kathy Hale (Faye Dunaway), whom he encounters by chance in a ski shop, to take him to her apartment in Brooklyn Heights. He holds her prisoner while he attempts to figure out what is going on. Deciding that he cannot trust anyone within the CIA, Turner begins to play a cat-and-mouse game with Higgins (Cliff Robertson), deputy director of the CIA's New York division, to find out who wants him dead...

Rotten Tomatoes consensus is: "This post-Watergate thriller captures the paranoid tenor of the times, thanks to Sydney Pollack's taut direction and excellent performances from Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway." Roger Ebert wrote, "Three Days of the Condor is a well-made thriller, tense and involving, and the scary thing, in these months after Watergate, is that it's all too believable." Some critics also described the film as a piece of political propaganda, as it was released soon after the "Family Jewels" scandal came to light in December 1974 which exposed a variety of CIA misconduct. However, in an interview with Jump Cut, Pollack explained that the film was written solely to be a spy thriller and that production on the film was nearly over by the time the Family Jewels revelations were made, so even if they had wanted to take advantage of them, it was far too late in the filmmaking process to do so. Despite both Pollack and Redford being well-known political liberals, they were only interested in making the film because an espionage thriller was a genre neither of them had previously explored. As a classic conspiracy thriller with a bit of a twist, I remember this being quite good and a well crafted piece of film. When re-seeing it now, I might be a bit less positive as I think Sydney Pollack is quite uneven as a director. We get great scenes mixed with really less great scenes. Such as the lovemaking sequence between Redford and Dunaway. And he doesn´t really manage to portray that overwhelming paranoid feel you would like to see in this sort of conspiracy thriller. "Three Days For Condor" is still stylish, convincing and intriguing. The plot is strong and the characters are all solid and believable. Redford acts with such a relaxed and easy manner, at the same time I think Turner´s reactions to what he is put through is not fully satisfying. I reckon someone in his shoes would be a lot more frighten and upset then Redford communicate in his role. Even if he really manages to act out his characters thoughts and concerns through his actions and facial expressions. Max Von Sydow is great as the sophisticated and calculating assassin Joubert. While Dunaway ends up on the sidelines unfortunately. We also get an up close look of the newly built World Trade Center in 1974 when the movie was shot. Trivia: According to Lucia Bozzola at Allmovie, the picture was "one of a cycle of conspiracy films from the 1970s to appear in the wake of the Watergate scandal that also included "The Parallax View" (1974) and "All the President's Men" (1976)".
½ January 14, 2016
Being a critically acclaimed example of the espionage thriller genre and headlined by Robert Redford, Three Days of the Condor sounded like a nostalgic experience.

The espionage thriller genre is one which hit a heyday during its most culturally relevant era, the time of the cold war. This was an era where the world was swept with paranoia and films capitalized on that. Since the cold war has been over for decades, the feeling of Three Days of the Condor is bound to have diminished slightly. Since the subject matter of the film is extremely timely, the result is that it doesn't hold up over the succeeding years and so it is perhaps not as intense as it once was. Three Days of the Condor is certainly a good film, but it is one which relies on a story which is somewhat dated in the current age. And as well as that, the genre itself is one very much reliant on a lot of talking while everything else around it moves along at a slow pace. Three Days of the Condor remains intelligently scripted either way, but it certainly stretches on for a long time and relies on atmosphere to carry it when nothing much is happening. The feeling may not always hold up in the contemporary age.
However, you can't blame anybody for the fact that history has changed. For what it's worth, Three Days of the Condor remains a sophisticated and intelligent thriller even outside of its context. The tale chronicles an interesting character by the name of Joseph Turner, a man who is very well-read and intelligent yet also an everyman caught up in a complicated situation. When he gets dragged into the violence of government politics and manages to barely make it out, he is left in a situation with nobody to trust. This gives Three Days of the Condor its feeling of intensity, fuelling it with unpredictability. From there on, the story develops naturally and goes on a course of all kinds of twists and turns with no telling what will come next. The story is one which has very intricate scripting, full of rich dialogue and clever plotting which keeps the audience guessing.
The handling of the material by Sydney Pollack is brilliant. Though the story itself is a complicated one, viewers are given an appropriate amount of time and a sensible story pace to comprehend everything that is going on. This allows them to gain an understanding of the relevance of each character and learn the true scope of the story with all its subtext and meaning. And the film is a stylish venture as well. The cinematography is a notorious asset to the film because it always captures things from a fair distance which gives viewers the feeling that they are spying on the character, further reinforcing the themes of paranoia in the narrative. The cinematography is able to capture the scope of the Joseph Turner's journey and the world around him while managing to maintain the atmosphere for a long time with extended shots, requiring editing minimally but still managing to use it effectively during the more fast-paced moments of the narrative. Essentially, Three Days of the Condor is shot and edited very well as a means of matching the pace with the latter element being effective enough to earn the film an Academy Award nomination.
And of course the brilliance of the cast in Three Days of the Condor is what keeps it consistently engaging even at the slowest of times.
Robert Redford's leading performance is a very strong asset to Three Days of the Condor. Although there is a lot of complications going on in the conspiracy at the heart of the narrative which requires the story to focus on many characters, Robert Redford's intense leading performance keeps things centred on him the whole time. Never letting his guard down for a second, Robert Redford manages keep a firm a grip on the complicated array of situations he has to face through a strong understanding of the material, cleverly conveying the intelligent nature of the character. And during some of the more intense moments in the film, Robert Redford proves himself capable of putting up a fight with strong physical energy. Robert Redford carries Three Days of the Condor very nicely.
Faye Dunaway also brings in a strong effort. Caught up in the intense mood of the story, Faye Dunaway manages to keep herself on edge throughout the entire story. Her chemistry with Robert Redford is impressive since Kathy Hale starts out as a victim of hostage antagonism but gradually manages to develop a genuine sense of trust with him. From there, the dramatic sparks develop into a romantic attachment where the two share a genuine sense of passion. Faye Dunaway works very well with Robert Redford to establish a rich engagement between characters, and it helps to add more a more human touch to the story.
Max Von Sydow is also a nice touch. Without having to say all that much in Three Days of the Condor, Max Von Sydow naturally has a sense of sophisticated mystery about him which plays to the benefit of his villainous nature. He is so professional about the role that he shows no feeling whatsoever when responsible for an assassination, yet there is nothing hollow about how he does it. The man is so strong in the part that he never comes off as being the enemy of the story, simply a hired gun with a strong attitude towards what he does. And when he interacts with Robert Redford more closely towards the end of the story, there is much intrigue. Max Von Sydow captures his part with such ease that it almost seems routine for the actor.

So Three Days of the Condor may rely on dated subject matter and a slow pace, but it provides audiences perspective into a different time with intense direction from Sydney Pollack and strong performances from its cast.
½ January 13, 2016
A bit routine for a thriller, and it has some straight faced reactions that take away from the effect of thrilling its audience.
2.5 out of 5
January 4, 2016
Un comienzo arrollador, dirección impresionante, actuaciones solidas, aunque me sobran algunas cosas es de los mejores exponentes de los 70.
December 13, 2015
Three Days of the Condor is exhilarating and suspenseful, and Robert Redford is up for the challenge, but the story is unbelievable and a bookworm would never be able to hide from the CIA like that.
September 5, 2015
I just read books.

Joseph Turner is hired by the CIA to read large amounts of records and report his key findings. One day he arrives at work to find all his colleagues dead and barely escapes with his life. When he tries to discover what happened, he is constantly attacked by secret agents. He runs into a woman, Kathy, who helps him try to uncover those responsible for his misfortunes.

"Is he dead?"
"Before he hit the ground."

Sydney Pollack, director of Tootsie, Out of Africa, The Firm, The Interpreter, Absence of Malice, Havana, Random Hearts, and This Property is Condemned, delivers Three Days of the Condor. The storyline for this picture is just okay. The acting and action are pretty good and the cast includes Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow, Tina Chen, and Cliff Robertson.

"What's the quality of work?"
"Clean, fast, and first rate."

I recently came across this on Netflix and decided to add it to the queue. This was an above average addition to the genre but falls short of being a classic. I am not a huge spy/espionage genre fan, but Redford's performance was worthwhile. This is worth watching if you're a fan of Redford and/or nothing better is on.

"Fuck the Wall Street Journal!"

Grade: C+
Super Reviewer
½ August 18, 2015
Very nice slow-burning spy movie.
August 17, 2015
Not easy to explain, but it's a very entertaining movie.
½ August 16, 2015
This movie starts out interesting and entertaining, but then fades into slowness, way too many twists, with a most confusing result.
½ August 14, 2015
1975. Venezuela. It was about the oil.
½ August 10, 2015
Gritty, down to earth spy dramas. Not nearly enough of them.
½ July 30, 2015
I can't believe I've never watched this before. Dated, but amazing.
½ July 28, 2015
Nothing is what it looks like, everything is what it seems

It's somber like the doubt Higgins raises up at last: "Hey Turner! How do you know they'll print it?". Here it is the pulsanting heart of a movie Sidney Pollack shot in 1975, after Watergate scandal, when the environment was full of suspects, suspicion, double-crossing typical of secret services' murky labor.

Joseph Turner (Robert Redford) is the only alive to a slaughter committed in the premises of the American Literary Historical Society: He was out to take away meals when killer Joubert (Max Von Sydow) gets in on with two others hit men: They slay all Turner's colleagues despite they aren't spies, they are nothing but Cia employees with the duty to find codes and tracks in literary books spreading all over the world.

It's a wicked game which crumbles seven lives instantaneously in obedience to Company's logics and in order to maintain a presumed balance among Nations. But Turner's life-and-death struggle is unpredictable: It's a getaway in which he accidentally involves the beautiful Kathy Hale (Faye Dunaway); She is a stranger yet the only refuge for Turner, the only who believes him and CIA willpower to lay to rest him and to hide out to the Company itself sleazy governmental palimpsests.

And like no-leaves trees, like empty benches, like desert boulevards Kathy has photographed and hanged into her home, she and Joe understand one another in their solitudes, and they can find a point of contact lingering in a fleeting dim-light, a place where to solve the muddle of subterfuges surrounding Condor (that's Turner's codename). As the biggest diurnal bird of prey he observes from afar his quarry and he surprisingly transforms into an operating secret agent ready to unmask the conspiracy that's devouring Cia from the inside.

It's a Company completely fallen apart from secrets as deep as melancholy included in Kathy's black-and-white shots, which are glares of a vague Middle Eastern mosaic that came out from Lorenzo Semple Jr. & David Rayfiel's pen: A script sunk in the black of oil that connects dishonest officials just ready to play with human lives as they were cards. Unfortunately they didn't deal with the joker Condor-faced that all want to crash with meanness: Mr. Wicks (Michael Kane), Mr. Wabash (John Houseman), treacherous Higgins (Cliff Robertson) and the puppeteer Leonard Atwood (Addison Powell).

At last Atwood will be victim of his trick, killed - in front of an astonished Turner - by Joubert obeying only to the how-much-law and never asking the reason why. Turner is safe (at this time). Puzzle tiles seems to fix up, lights can be switch off. Anyway sordid Higgins is yet at the helm as a cruel experimenter in the secrets rooms of a Power providing for people's longings with necessary sacrifices. On the other side stands straight as an arrow Turner with a dossier delivered to The New York Times: Every dirty detail is on the way to rotaries, black ink with which clean consciences up by showing off the clarity of facts. But in the end a doubtful question lingers and it makes everything opaque, elusive, uncontrollable: So it is for all the Turners in the world and for a society handled by invisible plots.
Super Reviewer
July 20, 2015
It's easy to see how the conspiracy and thriller elements have been influential (and those are the best parts of the movie) but it's hard to look past the dull and kind of creepy Stockholm Syndrome "romance" between Redford and Dunaway.
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