Monday, June 9, 2008

Three Days of the Condor (Sydney Pollack, 1975) D+

One sub-genre that I simply don't understand, no matter how hard I try, is the 70's conspiracy thriller. The China Syndrome is merely meh, Klute, Fonda's performance aside, is flimsy at best and The Conversation is simply one of the most overrated movies ever. With my prejudices out in the open, let me just tell you why I also didn't enjoy Sydney Pollack's Three Days of the Condor. One of the thing that gets me about thrillers post-Hitchcock is that they generally aren't thrilling and Condor is no exception. We are given no clues throughout the film, such as, maybe, a plot to assassinate someone that's uncovered, as to why the bad guys want Redford's character dead. They simply chase him around and force him to fend for his life. When we are given an explanation at the end, it comes out of left field and makes absolutely no sense. It plays out like the screenwriter wrote a couple of options on a dartboard and threw a dart to see which one to pick. Another problem with Three Days of the Condor is the major miscasting of the leads. Just because you put glasses on Robert Redford, it doesn't mean he's instantly become some bookworm. For Condor to have made any sense, they should have casted someone who actually looks brainy and would have a hard time getting out of these situations. With Redford, it looks too easy and the story doesn't make sense. My beloved Faye Dunaway is also miscast in her role as a woman who Redford forcefully captures. She's too high strung and forceful to play a captive convincingly.

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