Three Days of the Condor (USA, 1975)

three-days-of-the-condor-53e0ee0508ad8Directed by: Sydney Pollack. I found myself on a kick of mid-to-late 70’s American mainstream action thrillers for some reason. Perhaps it’s because I can scratch an itch for some “classic” cinema, and in this case, an itch to watch the filmography of the great Sydney Pollack, and the filmographies of Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway (and Max von Sydow for that matter), while at the same time, watching something fairly easy on the ol’ attention span after a hard day’s 9-5 rat race. It’s basically the worst hypocrisy, of having my cake and eating it too, BUT who’s keeping track anyway? This isn’t a fantastic movie in a lot of ways—the mainstream character-moulding and identity forming of yesterday are much easier seen through than those of today (sometimes), and this obvious pandering to the youth movement in Redford’s protagonist—an uptight square who’s still “cool,” who rides to work on a scooter to visually set him apart from the rat race he’s a part of, wears 8 layers of really trendy clothes, shaggy hair, the works—is pretty transparent. And I’m not sure how believable this romance is between him and the woman lead—she gets won over to him fairly quickly, but I’ve seen more insulting romances from 1970’s cinema, and Faye Dunaway’s character here is at least free of any obvious stereotypes. Her background and motives are actually kind of mysterious, which is always good. The harrowing suspense thriller plot itself is pretty good, especially if you’re into spy thrillers like I am right now. Max von Sydow is absolutely amazing—my only complaint is that he doesn’t do much, but even in this, even in his anticlimactic anti-showdown with Redford, the film demonstrates its novelty. The entire ending is absolutely delicious in how indicative it is of that post-60’s, cynical refusal of the neat, cathartic Hollywood solution. The rest of the film is basically a paint-by-numbers thriller, but the dangling ending (with the freeze-frame final shot, no less) is complete 1975. I love that shit. I definitely recommend this one to anybody interested in spy movies, action movies, 70’s New York-isms, and any of these fantastic actors.

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4 responses to “Three Days of the Condor (USA, 1975)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2013 | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: Jeremiah Johnson (USA, 1972) | Offhand Reviews·

  3. Pingback: Operation Condor (Hong Kong, 1991) | Offhand Reviews·

  4. Pingback: The In-Laws (USA, 1979) | Offhand Reviews·

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