“The sight of blood does not make me sick or afraid.”
“I would like to be an actor.”
“Often I can’t understand why I have been so irritable and touchy.”
“Someone is out to get me.”
If you identify with at least three of the above statements, you may be an ideal candidate for recruitment by the Parallax Corporation, where antisocial psychopaths such as yourself are both appreciated for their unique qualities and attributes and provided gainful, even meaningful, employment in the political assassination industry (shhhh). To get an idea of the kind of work the Parallax people do you could a lot worse than watch Alan Pakula‘s elegant, understated classic of cumulative menace and creeping paranoia, THE PARALLAX VIEW. A kind of ballad of a thin and very attractive man (Warren Beatty, looking, despite his fine performance, as exceptionally well-fucked as his lore attests), this is a film that demonstrates the uncertainty principle — or, more precisely, the observer effect — without pretending that it dissolves reality in an acid-bath of relativism. Something really is happening — and real people really are dying, one after the other, as part of an ever-ramifying conspiracy to cover-up the murder of a United States senator — even if you don’t know what it is, Mr. and Mrs. America.
Presented as part of the Brattle’s tribute to master-cinematographer Gordon Willis, who died this past May, THE PARALLAX VIEW epitomizes that brief period between, say, BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967) and STAR WARS (1977) when Hollywood allowed even “thrillers” a certain narrative breathing-room and formal flexibility. Split more or less evenly between a comparatively straightforward first half heavy on exposition and a second half in which dialogue all but vanishes and storytelling becomes an almost purely visual experience — presented through wide shots taken at striking angles, vast yet constraining and alienating — with a remarkable, CLOCKWORK ORANGE-esque interlude marking the shift, THE PARALLAX VIEW invites obsessive parsing, both on the level of its own construction and as a prism through which to reframe the paranoias of the present-day.
Today you get two chances to see it on the large screen. Watch it twice from different sides of the theatre and compare.
8/31 // 2:15PM & 7pm
40 Brattle Street
Cambridge MA 02138