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January 20, 2019, 12:18:46 AM
614068 Posts in 47441 Topics by 6331 Members
Latest Member: SashaMcCle Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  THE CONVERSATION (1974) « previous next »
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Author Topic: THE CONVERSATION (1974)  (Read 1905 times)
The Burgomaster
Aggravating People Worldwide Since 1964
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« on: July 28, 2007, 11:04:38 AM »

This is one of those movies that a lot of people have never seen, but I highly recommend it.  Some people will tell you it's boring, but I disagree.

Gene Hackman plays Harry Caul ("Caul" is a very fitting name for his character), an electronic surveillance expert who will eavesdrop on anyone.  Harry has learned to distance himself from his work . . . or has he?  In his line of work, he cannot become emotionally or morally involved with the people he spies on.  He must simply make recordings, deliver them to whoever hired him, and get paid, no questions asked.

However, when he eavesdrops on Cindy Williams and Frederic Forrest, he hears something that greatly disturbs him.  This causes him to struggle with a moral dilemma . . . does he distance himself from what is happening and simply deliver the tapes or does he get involved and possibly prevent something horrible from happening?

Hackman is great in the lead role.  He's a smart surveillance man, yet he suffers from overwhelming paranoia about everyone and everything around him.  He trusts no one and is always suspicious that someone is watching him.

This movie also has a top-notch supporting cast, including the perviously-mentioned Cindy Williams and Frederic Forrest, as well as a young (and quietly menacing) Harrison Ford.  John Cazale plays Hackman's assistant and Allen Garfield and Teri Garr are also along for the ride.

This movie is a million miles away from the techo-thrillers of today.  While today's movies are big-budgeted, noisy, rapid-paced films with lots of swirling camera movement, THE CONVERSATION is a quiet, thoughtful character study that has a couple of scenes that will chill you to the bone (especially the scene where Hackman hears the bit of recorded dialogue that eventually gives him nightmares).

A small, but brilliant movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola.  Highly recommended.  Thumbup  Thumbup  Thumbup  Thumbup
« Last Edit: July 28, 2007, 11:07:41 AM by The Burgomaster » Logged

"Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone."
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« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2007, 04:48:05 PM »

I finally saw it after hearing a lot of good things about it, but was dissapointed. It's a very good film, I agree, and Hackman delivers one of his best performances ever. And some of the camerawork is amazing, like the opening scene where Hackman recors the conversation.

The problem is that I was expecting something much different and I was a bit bored when I finally noticed the direction the film was taking. But I still plan to give it a try some other time.

Due to the horrifying nature of this film, no one will be admitted to the theatre.
Bad Movie Lover

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Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2007, 08:49:09 PM »

The Academy nominated this for Best Picture and Best Director, alongside Godfather 2, which was also up for Best Picture and Director.  Personally, I think this movie better demonstrates Coppola's abilities as a filmmaker.  It creates an atmosphere of intrigue and suspense without really giving the viewers any clues as to what is going on.  In many ways, it is like watching a puddle slowly form under a leaky faucet.  I can understand how some people find this trying, but I've always been captivated by it.  The cryptic ending is one of my all-time favorites.

One good parallel that comes to mind are the films of Atom Egoyan's, particularly Ararat, Exotica, and The Sweet Hereafter.  Egoyan's narratives are fairly simple in and of themselves, but through careful out of sequence editing, a sense of action (tension) is created where chronologically none exists: no explosions, carjackings, or gymkata.  Think Memento, but well done (artistry versus gimmickry).  TeddyR

This is definitely worth a viewing if you haven't seen it.

Jim H
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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2007, 02:21:13 PM »

An excellent movie.  One of the nice touches is to consider what a caul is and the use of translucent materials around the character.  This is Francis Ford Coppola's third masterpiece of the 70s, just too bad it never gets the recognition.
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