My 100 favourite films. Entry #38: The Conversation.

The Conversation (1974)
directed by Francis Ford Coppola
starring Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Frederic Forrest and Harrison Ford
country: USA
genre: Drama

Visuals: 7
Writing: 8
Everyday watchability: 6

I hear people say this all the time: "they don't make them like they used to." They say it about all sorts of things: cars; films; tacos. And it's both completely untrue and completely correct. In the sense that they don't make quality products, it's not true. The movies are as good (or as bad as they used to be). In the sense that they don't make them in the same style that they used to, then it's obviously completely true. Let's put aside for the moment that styles change, tastes change and technology changes (all of which are important factors in the making of The Conversation). "They don't make 'em like they used to" goes deeper than all that. It exists in a place beyond style. Its style and structure is completely informed by its content, full of long shots, murky cutting.and slow builds We only see from a distance, literally and figuratively. Only parts of the story,are revealed, about both happenings and characters. It's a subtly-made movie that's worth watching every decade, as we make more and more ways to pry into private lives, but the fear stays the same.


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