I love this movie more than most and this is a movie I hope to see many more times to come. I would also be really into a poster of it in my apartment. But this movie is so quiet, so intense, and has such an interesting protagonist, it’s pretty much perfect.
Something Elizabeth read to me recently was that this movie lost best picture to The Godfather Part II. So Coppola made both in the same year!?!? That’s completely crazy! The same guy that directed Twixt?!
The Conversation is really good and really interesting, and sort of in ways that I really didn’t expect at all. I thought it was going to be about Harry (Gene Hackman), solving some kind of crime based on audio surveillance he was recording. Which is sort of the plot, but not really.
What makes it so different from that is Harry himself. He’s obviously some kind of surveillance genius and is a celebrity within the field. But for all the intelligence he has for that, he’s lacking it in other ways. And is just kind of weird. Like how he pretty much constantly wears a raincoat, no matter what the weather is. Or how he’s super Catholic, which can kind of get in the way of spying on people sometimes. So the movie follows Harry after he’s recorded a couple’s conversation, which Harry suspects will ultimately get the couple killed (something that happened to Harry before). He tries to keep the tapes away from his client, “The Director” (Robert Duvall) and The Director’s assistant, Martin (Harrison Ford). They eventually get the tapes from Harry, who still tries to prevent what he thinks will be the murder of the couple, only to find out he had the crime completely backwards.
So, it’s interesting to have Harry be a bit of an unreliable narrator. Some of it is his fault, with his weird quirks, but some of the unreliability just comes from him misinterpreting the situation. It was nice to see a movie where a normal person tries to be a detective, and fails.
I do have to mention something in particular. This movie came out in 1974, when Harrison was 32 and had just done American Graffiti. So this is pre-Star Wars, pre-Indiana Jones, pre-most Harrison Ford movies. And holy shit. He looks GOOD. Like, distractingly good. He is so insanely good looking that he does not look like a normal person. It’s CRAZY (and awesome).