Let’s Converse a Little, Shall We?

In Movies on January 8, 2013 at 11:45 pm

“The Conversation”, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, tells the story of Harry Caul, wire-tapper extraordinaire, played by Gene Hackmen, who takes a job that appears fine at face value but quickly deteriorates into something more than that. Caul, working alongside Stan, played by John Cazale, eavsdrops onto the conversation that is taking place in the middle of Union Square, San Francisco  not New York, between Mark, played by Frederik Forrest, and Ann, played by Cindy Williams. After listening to their conversation, improving it, and mixing it, Caul decides to turn the tapes the man who hired him. BUT WAIT! Harrison Ford, playing Martin Stett, tries to intercept this deal, saving his boss, played by Robert Duvall, the tough decision that he has to make. When the deal is about to be completed, Caul negates it at the last second, deciding to take matters into his own hand, despite the dark warning from Martin Stett. This movie builds builds and builds leading the audience to an ending that seemingly comes out of nowhere, but when reminisced upon appears possible.

This movie was meh. I was actually just talking about movies from the ’70s, telling her that I love movies from the ’70s., “Dirty Harry”, “Bullitt”, “The French Connection”, all great movies from the ’70s. “The Conversation” was not one of these movies, which was very disappointing to me because I love Gene Hackmen, especially ’70s Gene Hackmen. And he was the biggest disappointment within this film. It seemed like he didn’t have a good grasp as to what his character was supposed to be or what emotions he was supposed to play. He was all over the place, first angry, than sad, then yearning for closeness, then mad that somebody got two close. I don’t know if it was Hackmen’s fault or Coppola’s but he appeared to not have a good grasp as to who Harry Caul was.

This movie also suffered a bit from lack of suspense. As I stated before, it was suspenseful but it could have been so much more! Wire tapping is extremely suspenseful, that’s one of the aspects that made “The Wire” so amazing, among others, and yet I felt that Coppola didn’t develop this aspect of the film as much as he could have. For instance, in the scene when they make the initial recording it is completed quite easily, despite it being a difficult area to cover. Caul explains how this is done later on in the film but I wish this painstaking process was shown, it would have been a lot more exciting.

So, in conclusion, this movie wasn’t that great. This film suffered from its lack of development regarding wire tapping, which it should have tapped more, HA get it!, and Hackmen’s confusing portrayal of Harry Caul. There are much better movies on Netflix, much better movies from the ’70s and much better movies starring Gene Hackmen.


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