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No consensus yet.
All Critics (28)
| Top Critics (5)
| Fresh (19)
| Rotten (9)
| DVD (2)
At 70, Hitchcock seems suddenly to have forgotten his own recipe.
Few directors are capable of this kind of structural experimentation so late in their careers, and Hitchcock deserves much credit for his audacity.
Topaz tends to move more solidly and less infectiously than many of Alfred Hitchcock's best remembered pix. Yet Hitchcock brings in a full quota of twists and tingling moments.
[Topaz] might appeal to devotees of Le Carré et al, but it certainly doesn't make for dramatically exciting cinema, especially given Hitchcock's flat, seemingly uninterested direction. The bland performances don't help much, either.
Topaz is not only most entertaining. It is, like so many Hitchcock films, a cautionary fable by one of the most moral cynics of our time.
Pretty good entertainment with a number of standout scenes involving either Roscoe Lee Browne or Michel (always good) Piccoli.
Hitchcock's most 'realistic' spy film has turned out to be one of his most stealthily abstract.
Good, but a bit grim, and when not that, a bit glossy ...
Prhaps the poorest film of [Hitchcock's] Hollywood career.
Tt is a technically accomplished film, and its narrative is robust and complex, even if its destination is ultimately of no great significance.
One of Hitchcock's weaker films, this Cold War espionage tale lacks tension and suspense but it bears some artistic merits, including color scheme.
It is a technically accomplished film, and its narrative is robust and complex, even if its destination is ultimately of no great significance.
I had heard that, among the lesser films of Hitchcock's filmography, this was basically the bottom of the barrel, and you know what? That's not completely wrong.
Now, it's not a terrible film per se, but it certainly doesn't have a lot going for it. The plot is the old Cold War spy intrigue/mole hunt sort of thing, with emphasis on a French operative diving into Soviet and Cuban dealings around the time of the Cuban Missle Crisis. The storyline is heavily fact based, and as a result, is pretty cut and dried, and not really as compelling as it should be.
It doesn't help that Hitch made a lot of films like this already, most of them better, and ones I saw before this one. Even though it has ties to reality, the film is dull, not engaging, and kind of a bore. I really didn't care what was happening most of the time, and that's really not a good sign considering the film's long running time.
The film's not all bad though. It has a lot of merit from a technical standpoint, with some good locations, sets, and camerawork. Maurice Jarre's score is also really good, and probably the film's highlight, aside from the film scene Karin Dor is in. Speaking of actors, this could probably have benefited from some serious star power. That wouldn't be a guarantee that it would've helped, but you never know. I do think the highlight as far as acting goes to John Vernon, and his portrayal of a Cuban revolutionary is both bewildering and awesome. I t probably wouldn't fly today, and, while I'm not sure why they got a Canadian to play a Cuban, I won't complain either, as I think Vernon was a solid character actor.
All in all, the film is just kinda 'meh'. I mostly just think the film falls because it all feels very routine and phoned in. Of course, when you're Hitchcock, I guess it's okay to not be on the top of your game all the time...even though it happened to him a few times, especially during the latter years. See it if you want, but just know that its reputation is pretty true.
Hitchcock most European film is very interesting look at the Cold War.
For the most part this movie is incredibly dull, and deals with politics, war, and spies. Although Hitchcock has done spy movies before, none were ever as boring as this one. And where did he find his cast? I don't think I've heard of anyone in this cast list before. It was an interesting idea to not use the same stars he'd been using before, but none of them really stand out as great actors you'd like to see again. The story too is unknown, I mean we do find out what Topaz is, but then we don't get a very clear ending, and we wonder why everything we saw happen happened. Overall, not a good movie, but it could've been worse, at least there were a few action packed scenes.
Even a Hitchcock misfire has more to offer than other director's best attempts. Yes, the plot may be dull, uneven, unexciting but it has some brilliant touches of pure cinema scattered all over it.
Artificiality in the sceneries and no presence of big hollywood stars were two things that hurt this film irreparably. It was more like a thinking man's thriller with a european feel and a clinical view of espionage as a dirty business that went completely misunderstood and neglected by the critics and public of its time.
A masterful dominion of visual storytelling can lift anything from mediocre to interesting.
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