Tuesday, January 26, 2010

three days of the condor

Today, I will review the 1975 film Three Days of the Condor, directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway.

Available for rental, presumably, for years (in both VHS and later, DVD format I would imagine) it only went on sale at the Palac knih Luxor on Wenceslas Square in Prague recently, and I only bought and watched it yesterday, which explains why this review is 35 years late.

But let's not get bogged down in recriminations.

The movie is about Robert Redford, whose character's name escapes me now, but really, who cares? He's ROBERT REDFORD. He works for the CIA except he doesn't really, because he's not involved in any nasty CIA business, he just reads books - apparently in search of plans the CIA has in the past implemented or could potentially implement in future. He claims to read EVERYTHING, but that seems a little nonsensical to me. For example, would he read, Jane Eyre, in case the CIA has in the past or may in future pose as a plain governess who falls in love with a man who keeps his crazy Creole wife locked in the attic? (Although, that is ringing bells...Chile? the '70s? I must look that up.)

But let's not get bogged down in plot details. (Because frankly, I'm not sure I really followed it.)

This movie made me nostalgic for the '70s. In the '70s, for those of you who weren't there, or don't remember, people used to smoke a lot. INDOORS. I think it says a great deal about how our culture has evolved that 35 years later, I find the site of the receptionist smoking away while typing more shocking than any of the (many) shootings in this film.

Of course, that could be because, in the '70s, when people got shot, they bounced around a bit but they didn't bleed much. They rolled down stairs and fell out of office chairs, but they did it with minimum gore. I have to say, I liked that about the '70s.

But to get to back to the story, everyone in Robert Redford's office gets shot and he's saved only because he's gone out to get them lunch. When he returns and discovers the carnage (or what passed for carnage in the '70s) he realizes he's in danger and goes on the lam.

There follow a number of plot twists and turns during which the alert viewer will no doubt realize who is betraying whom, and the less alert viewer will have no idea who is betraying whom but will be happy, nonetheless, just watching ROBERT REDFORD.

Max Von Syndow plays a pivotal role as a creepy gun-for-hire from Europe (in the '70s, all the villains were European).

The opening credits note that the movie was based on the book "Six Days of the Condor," and I am really curious as to what happened to those other three days.

In short, a film that really must be seen to be properly appreciated (and perhaps seen a couple of times to be properly understood).

1 comment:

Shay said...

This makes me want to smoke with Robert Redford before pushing him down some stairs.