I don’t actually think that Alan Pakula’s “The Parallax View” has stood the test of time very well. The movie revolves around a reporter, Joseph Frady (Warren Beatty) who stumbles upon a plot by a mysterious corporation, The Parallax Corporation, to create assassins.
I haven’t read the book by Loren Singer but it appears that virtually everything in the movie was unique, so unique in fact that it was barely based on the novel.
So, despite having just watched the film, technically – except in the broadest strokes – I have no idea what happened in Singer’s novel.
Though that’s something I didn’t know at the time, and can’t hold against the filmmakers.
What I can hold against them is Beatty’s performance. It felt too assured, almost aloof despite the fact that he was going against a corporation that potentially has its tendrils in not only the police, but the federal government as well. The idea of a ‘man in circumstances beyond his control’ was much better played by Robert Redford in “Three Days Of The Condor.”
There’s an an interesting aside that I would be amiss if I didn’t mention. There’s a scene when Frady purchases an airline ticket aboard the plane, which I have never heard of. I know that you can do it on trains, though I have never seen it done on planes.
Not to say that the film doesn’t have some interesting ideas. There are elements of mind control (the scene where Frady is watching a film to determine – I assume – his potential for aggression is straight out of Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange,” which came out three years earlier) and with an actor better able to convey the immensity of the plot that he’s somehow managed to get involved with, it scene could have been remarkable.
An actor like Denzel Washington would be perfect in a reboot because he has shown in films like “Safe House” and “Flight” that he can play the man caught in circumstances beyond his pay grade remarkably well.