Monday, June 7, 2010

Three Days of the Condor. B+


I first heard of Three Days of the Condor while reading Elmore Leonard's Out of Sight. During the famous scene in the car trunk, the two central characters, both movie lovers, talk about Condor and how the book it's based on was called Six Days of the Condor. Since I read the book I've always been sort interested in seeing the film. Now that I have, it struck me as sort of a 70's equivalent of Michael Clayton. They both have complicated stories, front-line stars, and flashy directors (ironically, the director of Condor, Sydney Pollack, has a role in Clayton). Plus, they both show situations that are entirely fictional but that hypothetically could actually occur. From what I've read, Three Days of the Condor was initially recognized as a realistic thriller because it came just after the watergate scandal. The movie presents corruption in the CIA, and after what happened at watergate, this suddenly seemed plausible. I'm sure that added to the film back in 1975, but now, 35 years later, it doesn't. Watergate is no longer shocking as it once was, and, at least to me, it was an event that was blown out of proportion. I love the first half of Three Days of the Condor. Robert Redford plays a CIA researcher who arrives at his office to find everyone murdered. It's a great set-up, and Redford, because there's a chance that the murders have come from within the CIA, is forced to go on the run. One of his first moves is taking a woman, played brilliantly by Faye Dunaway, captive in her own apartment. Dunaway is always fun to watch, and though her character isn't very believable, she does have a few lines that are pitch perfect. My main complaint with the movie was the manner in which it resolved the story. The movie sped to the finish line without leaving much time for really explaining its secrets and that always irritates me. It wraps up several mysteries far too quickly, and ends on a slightly inconclusive note. But it's a 70's flick, so what do you expect? But for the most part this a fun, intriguing, and entertaining conspiracy thriller. I think I'd like to see it again, too. I believe it would help clear up the story a little more and also I just had a lot of fun with the movie and would like to have that experience again.

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