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Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The Conversation - Francis Ford Coppola (1974)

Coppola's other film from 1974, The Conversation is about the life of Harry Caul, a mercenary surveillance expert who begins to doubt the morality of his profession and the motives of his employer. As the film progresses, a fairly self-assured Caul played by a magnificent Gene Hackman (barely recognisable from his signature role as the incendiary Popeye Doyle), becomes steadily more obsessed with the recording of the titular conversation, realising he may be selling lives instead of just goods for money. The film's beautifully minimalist and pensive score captures the isolation and introversion of Caul perfectly, (and funnily enough reminds me of the Zodiac soundtrack ), shifting from dissonance to tonality, mimetic of the stunning volte face in the film's tone towards the end of the film. Brilliantly paced, intelligent, satirical and arguably Gene Hackman's greatest ever performance, The Conversation is one of the defining films of the golden 70s, and I can't believe it took me this long to actually watch it.

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