A bookish CIA researcher in Manhattan finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust.A bookish CIA researcher in Manhattan finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust.A bookish CIA researcher in Manhattan finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust.
Turner works for the American Literary Historical Society, or at least so it seems. In reality he is a CIA researcher, with the code name Condor, who gets paid to read books, in which he has to find possible scenarios that could be used in intelligence work. When he returns to his office after he went out to get lunch, he finds all his colleagues dead and he doesn't know who shot them. He immediately calls a superior who sends his section chief to get him out of there. But when the man arrives, he immediately opens fire on Turner. In an act of pure desperation - he no longer knows who he can trust - Turner kidnaps a woman he has never seen before and forces her to hide him. He will stay in her house until he can find out what exactly is going on. But even there he isn't save. He is discovered and attacked in the woman's house, but is able to kill the man. Now he knows one thing for sure: the man too had a connection to the CIA, which means that someone in the CIA must be behind all this...
I guess the best thing about this movie is the fact that it doesn't give away all its information at once. At first Turner appears to be an ordinary guy who arrives late for work. Nothing special there. But because he gradually builds up tension by slightly releasing more information, the writer knows how to keep you focused and interested. I guess the best way to describe this movie is calling it a classic spy thriller without James Bond-like locations or bad guys and and no super hero who can beat all the bad guys with a blink of an eye. No, this is a normal man who was at the wrong place at the wrong time and who now has to face an unusual and life threatening situation. I guess that's where this movie gets its strength: you can easily identify with him, even though he is a spy.
And yes, the whole concept of the movie is very seventies: the paranoia towards the government, the insecurity of not knowing who your enemies or your friends are... all give it that typical feeling. but even today this movie hasn't lost any of its power or relevance. All in all this is a very good and stylish thriller that offers plenty of tension and some very nice acting. Especially Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway were very nice to watch, but the other actors did a fine job too. Thanks to the combination of the acting, a good story and some nice camera-work, Pollack has created a movie Hitchcock might have been proud of if he had done it. That's why I give this movie a 7.5/10.
- Jul 11, 2005