The Parallax View Is the Pick of the Week

The logic of conspiracy theories has a lot to do with elements or explanations that can be considered factual or fictitious. Many of them connect to some of the most infamous events in history, such as the assassination of JFK, Area 51, Bigfoot, Roswell, etc. There is also the matter of those that can be considered made up or falsified by individuals as a means of seeking fame and undeserved attention. Because of this, there have been many films that have successfully (or at times unsuccessfully) showcased themes of fact or misplaced paranoia.

In the 1970s, the late director Alan J. Pakula, became immortally identified with paranoid filmmaking, especially with iconic films as Klute and particularly All the President’s Men. His 1974 film, The Parallax View, does continue to be one that gets unfairly lost in the shuffle, mainly because of its slightly dated but interesting views.

Warren Beatty stars as a reporter who starts to suspect that many witnesses to the assassination of a political candidate are being killed one by one. As his obsession leads him deeper and deeper down the abyss, he encounters a mysterious corporation that may or may not be behind these events. In obvious thriller fashion, he gets in way over his head and puts himself in grave danger. In simpler terms, he should have chosen a different profession; one that will not get him killed. Despite some of the dated aspects I referred to, Pakula’s eye for suspense and uncertainty gives the film a much-needed dose of reality, where even some of the most outrageous theories can lead to some very sinister truths.

The new release from Criterion has a new 4K restoration that I bet looks immaculate. The supplements, albeit not many, also sound worthwhile. They include a new introduction by filmmaker Alex Cox; interviews with Pakula from 1974 and 1995; new program on Gordon Willis, the legendary cinematographer who shot the film, featuring an interview with him from 2004; and a new interview with Jon Boorstin, assistant to Pakula on the film. There is also a booklet featuring a new essay by critic Nathan Heller and a 1974 interview with Pakula. If you’re interested in conspiracy theories, ’70s cinema, and are a fan of Pakula, then I totally recommend adding this to your collection. It could make for some interesting conversations.

Other interesting releases:

Freaky (Killer Switch Edition): Kathryn Newton stars as a high schooler who unknowingly switches bodies with a serial killer (Vince Vaughn). She has less than 24 hours before the change becomes permanent.

Greenland: Gerald Butler stars in this legitmitly good disaster flick as the patriarch of a family that struggles to survive a devastating global apocalypse.

Jazz on a Summer’s Day (Kino): An incredible documentary concert film highlighting the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, with performances by legendary musicians Mahalia Jackson, Louis Armstrong, Anita O’Day, and Dinah Washington among others.

Suspect (Kino): The great Sir Charles Laughton stars as an unhappily married man who falls in love with a beautiful, younger woman (Ellla Raines). When his shrew, nagging wife tries to ruin her, he decides to do something about it.

A Tale of Two Cities (Warner Archive): An acclaimed 1935 adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens story starring Ronald Colman and Donald Woods as two men in love with the same woman (Elizabeth Allen) during the French Revolution.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Search & Filter