A political conspiracy thriller par excellence and a candidate perhaps for Beatty's finest screen moment. Alan J Pakula's monumental "The Parallax View" retains its intense intelligence and sense of claustrophobic skullduggery even 25 years after its release.
Joseph Frady (Beatty) is an investigative reporter prone to upsetting both the authorities and his colleagues. Following the assasination of a prominent US senator, it comes to Frady's attention that the journalists who witnessed the event themselves begin to mysteriously meet their ends. Drawn into a nightmarish world of shady corporations and menacing shadows, Frady links the murders to the sinister Parallax Corporation, an enigmatic therapy institute. Driven by inquisitiveness, Frady enrolls at the institute in an attempt to discover the truth.
Stunningly shot by Gordon Willis, the film accurately captures the climate of political unease surrounding the film's production. Pakula (who also directed "Klute"), one of the most productive and analytical directors of the 70s, the heyday of intelligent American cinema, directs with supreme confidence and imbues the proceedings with genuine menace and angst. Beatty is superb, initially smug but ultimately chastened as his investigations uncover uncomfortable truths. Immortalised by the poster tagline for the film - 'As American as apple pie' - "The Parallax View" remains the political cat and mouse cliffhanger all others must live up to.