A fascinatingly inverted morality play with ambiguous and fragmentary notions of privacy, guilt and (for this period, almost obligatory) paranoia. No straight road to Damascus here with Hackman excelling in a shiftily nuanced and torn role. Shire's alternately naggingly riffy piano theme and dissonant musique concrete superbly underscore the bluey-grey visual palette in a (thrillingly) locked mise-en-scene.
Truly one of the great treasures of borderline-mainstream cinema to emerge from the gilded 1970s. Coppola's investigation of privacy, surveillance, and nefarious American power politics, ends up being a movie about control. The private person desires to control how he or she is perceived (of if he or she is perceived). As in all other matters, our need to assert control is usually married to our lack of it.
Any film with John Cazale deserves to be seen, Also Allen Garfield is great, and this film also features Cindy Williams prior to Laverne and Shirley, and Harrison Ford before Star Wars, Star Wars ushered in a dismal era in American cinema. The Conversation was from that golden period that started with Easy Rider.
Another masterpiece from Francis Ford Coppola. The impact today of this intense and riveting thriller is great but imagine how much more so when it was first released in 1974 at a time when the Watergate scandal was being made public. Coppola wrote the excellent screenplay as well as directing and Gene Hackman gives perhaps his finest performance as the increasingly paranoid Harry Caul. Highly Recommended!
Perfect thriller. I was surprised to see touches of Antonioni throughout the film, this time the main character not afflicted by ennui but paranoia and frustration, and the way Coppola takes those emotions to the film's core and paces it around them is quite brilliant. It perfectly blurs the line between a genre film and a character study. Also, that piano score by David Shire... just amazing.
A key 1970s paranoid thriller, but its legacy is more durable than many others of its ilk; the sense of an unstoppable psychopathic force manipulating our world, beyond the reach of our technology's ability to track or control it, echoes today.