REVIEW: The Parallax View (1974) - ManlyMovie

REVIEW: The Parallax View (1974)


‘I’ve been called too independent for my own good’

*spoilers below*

Warren Beatty gets himself enmeshed in corporate conspiracies and political assassinations in this crafty thriller from director Alan J. Pakula (All the President’s Men, Klute, The Pelican Brief).

The story starts at a Fourth of July parade outside the Seattle Space Needle.  The parade is attended by Senator Carroll and his wife.  Carroll is an Independent Senator, unaffiliated with any mainstream party.  He is taking part in the celebrations on top of the needle.  The festive mood soon turns dire when the Senator is callously murdered by an assassin disguised as a server.  The film then cuts to a political committee looking into the Senator’s death.  The committee strenuously deny any conspiracy behind Carroll’s death and reiterate that it was committed by a lone individual.

Three years later, political reporter, Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) gets a visit from a friend, a female journalist and witness to the Carroll murder.  She tells him since the assassination, six spectators from the event have died in peculiar accidents.  Sobbing and in great anguish, she believes she will be killed next because there is a larger conspiracy implicated.  She pleads with Frady to look into these accidents, particularly a drowning that occurred as a result of a dam flooding in a small town called Salmontail.  Frady is initially skeptical of her theories.

After her visit, she’s found dead.  Shaken by her death, Frady is compelled to visit Salmontail, where he finds a cover up that leads to the ‘human engineering’ department of the sinister Parallax Corporation.

Gordon Willis, cinematographer behind the Godfather Trilogy, lights the film like an old-fashioned horror picture.  Actors are draped in murky shadows, even in daylight.  The Parallax View comes off moody, atmospheric and somewhat unsettling at times.

Unfortunately, Warren Beatty’s acting is disappointingly bland.  His nonchalant and indifferent performance when he should be passionate and angry is a perplexing decision.  One imagines a more impactful film with an intense actor like Clint Eastwood or Steve McQueen.  The movie also stretches believability when Frady miraculously survives deadly encounters without real explanation.  In addition, the film’s twist is easily telegraphed and predictably cynical.

Nonetheless, if you’re interested in political thrillers, The Parallax View is essential viewing.  Moreover, the film raises deeper questions about the sociopathic nature of mega corporations and the extent of their corrosive influence over elected officials and government agencies.



  1. jim

    September 17, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Beatty is a tedious limo liberal but any man who can get through that much tail has to be reckoned with..I liked Bugsy, Bonnie & Clyde but the old pussy hound has always been a bit too smug and languid for me . Probably I’m just jealous . He fucked ’em all.
    …. Parallax View is very smooth and classy ,as were most of the films directed by Alan.J.Pakula . He also did Klute and All The Presidents Men which I’d say are better films.

    • Mucho Macho

      September 18, 2016 at 3:08 am

      Beatty like many liberals don’t have to deal with the issues, places or people they keep pimping. He has a tranny daughter or son or whatever the hell he or she is and by the looks of it, he’s not too thrilled. I guess he ain’t that liberal when it comes to his business.

      But I’ve always thought he was incredibly talented & I’ve enjoyed his work through the years. And like you wrote, the man has been a pussy magnet through the years and has a list of conquests that should be admired & respected by us all.

      • jim

        September 18, 2016 at 5:17 pm

        You have to admit there is a kind of hilarious poetic justice to the quintessential hollywood liberal getting lumbered with a tranny for a daughter….and doubly galling for a champion stud like Beatty…You’d have to have a heart of stone not to laugh..So much for all those liberal child rearing education techniques…LOL!!..Funny as fuck ……
        ….Stitch THAT ya cunt..!..

        • Mucho Macho

          September 19, 2016 at 1:16 am

          It’s 1 of those things were you run your mouth all your life telling people how to be more more liberal & then you have kid that grows up to be a tranny & you deny him or her or it.

  2. Andymovieman

    September 18, 2016 at 2:22 am

    Basically like how the Kennedy assassinaton was and it was mostly the warren commission as well as LBJ and the government which killed him as much as they covered it up. Good plot but same crappy ending as arlington road with Jeff bridges and tim Robbins. You know the good guy gets killed by the bad guys and is blamed for the crime whether it be a political assassination/FBI bombing, and the bad guys gets away scot free.

  3. Mucho Macho

    September 18, 2016 at 3:10 am

    This a good movie. Good review