The Parallax View (1974)

In an article written as recently as August 13, 2008, Nick Schager (List: Ten Disturbingly Powerful Fictional Film Corporations) revisits this Warren Beatty starred film. Although by no means the pioneer of the detected developing trend in movie making all the way up to the present, The Parallax View was the best of its day and offered an element to conspiracy analysts unique for even those of today. Schager may not go this far (indeed he is content with listing and light commentary,) so this reviewer will presume to go further.

Tens years after the JFK assassination, this film has its obvious tie-ins. Restraining itself, however, the hard questions it might raise are implied by remarkable subtlety, the characteristic of design and the mark of good movie making. Direction (Alan J. Pakula) and supporting roles uphold a level of quality throughout while Beatty…well, what can one say about any actor whose facial expressions are the same when he’s getting laid as when he’s fighting for his life? (Not that I am not a fan.) Let’s just let it rest he’s a facially stoic personality. The late Hume Cronyn was  typically superb in his role as Bill Rentils, our investigative reporter hero’s, editor. We wonder what the most hateful of the villains, Earl Hindman, felt so obliged to hide of his face as Wilson, in Home Improvement. Be that as it may, the cast ranges from a line-up as retrospect inspiring as is the storyline. From Jim Davis to Paula Prentiss we are taken back amid some of the best known faces in entertainment of the period.

It is interesting to note that despite the sterling cast and high mark relevance, this film was under promoted. Like Zabrisky Point made just four years prior by Michelangelo Antonioni, when his popularity as a director was at its highest, it seemed avoided more than otherwise. Perhaps the flash point issues of the day had caused some secret understandings between giants of the film industry and the White House to extents more than those casually mentioned by investigators into such matters as the Watergate Hearings.

So what is unique to this movie, what sets it apart to the extent it might be perceived some menacing expose’? Well, dear viewer, this movie doesn’t just take you into the seamy world of extra-legal political assassination (too bad I must qualify this,) it demonstrates the elements of setting up a patsy. The tangled web we discover towards its end and its acquired horror, hearkens us back to the question, “how long has this been going on?” Most likely since Rome.

Georges de Mohrenschildt once told an interviewer that he met Lee Harvey Oswald through the urging of CIA operatives. At the time of the JFK assassination, Marinna Oswald and her baby girl were staying with the de Mohrenschildts. Until one knows the extent of de Mohrenschildt’s involvement with world-wide intelligence organizations as an international intelligence liason par excellence and with a South American corporation pioneering mind control, no one can justly say the murder of a popular president has been adequately investigated. This movie reflects honestly on its own story line in the same way the reviewer just did on historical fact.

The chilling aspect to each is the string of dead bodies left behind them.

Language does get a little rough in some places, but appropriately.

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