An ambitious reporter gets in way-over-his-head trouble while investigating a senator's assassination which leads to a vast conspiracy involving a multinational corporation behind every event in the world's headlines.
Joe Frady is a determined reporter who often needs to defend his work from colleagues. After the assassination of a prominent U.S. senator, Frady begins to notice that reporters present during the assassination are dying mysteriously. After getting more involved in the case, Frady begins to realize that the assassination was part of a conspiracy somehow involving the Parallax Corporation, an enigmatic training institute. He then decides to enroll for the Parallax training himself to discover the truth.Written by
Philip Brubaker <firstname.lastname@example.org>
During production, Warren Beatty directed a few scenes but didn't receive any official credit. See more »
The score in the "Pong" game between the scientist and the monkey. See more »
When I agreed to take you back in January I made two suggestions. One was about your drinking. Well, you seem to have licked that. The other was that you curb your talent for creative irresponsibility: you can start working on that right now.
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It has become commonplace to identify '70s Hollywood films as their own genre. I'll go one farther and identify this era as a collective, structural autuer.
If that hypothesis holds any water, this is one of its impressive works. Made shortly after Watergate, and less than a decade after the JFK assassination, this envisions conspiracies and assassinations not as a disruption of, but a cornerstone of the American establishment.
This is, in a sense, not a POLITICAL conspiracy thriller. The US government, or that of any other country, is presented as merely a dope of a greater power- that of the big corporations of whatever stripe. This is a dystopian capitalist democracy- one in which representatives are elected to "officially" be as clueless as the general populace about the real social reality around them.
Perhaps the most subversive thing about this very subversive film is that the assassinations don't seem catastrophic, or even troubling. When one takes place, the victim politician is basically a walking sound bite. His sacrifice seems only the continuation of a ritual of banal brutality.
In one scene, a film is shown that is supposed to condition the viewer to murderous obedience. It is a montage of images of Americana, including those of violence and oppression. In most '70s conspiracy thrillers, the evil that lurked beneath the surface had a predatory relation to the commonly understood reality. People were putting their trust in a machine that was not what it seemed. Here, the evil is the surface. America IS the conspiracy.
DP Gordon Willis has never impressed me more. In his work with Woody Allen and Francis Coppola his show-offy use of shadow and in-the-frame lighting sources seemed at times to distract from the tone or theme of the film, as if Willis was only interested in defining his "look" regardless of its relation to the film's content. Here, it fits the tone of the film perfectly. The final scenes, largely devoid of dialog, in a hall filled with terrifyingly "patriotic" imagery, is gorgeous. Many of the shots reminded me of de Cherico paintings.
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