review for The Parallax View on AllMovie

The Parallax View (1974)
by Lucia Bozzola review

Made between Klute (1971) and All the President's Men (1976), The Parallax View was the most paranoid film in Pakula's paranoia trilogy. The influence of the Parallax Corporation appears to be limitless; the questions about the Kennedy assassination and the conclusion of the Watergate affair in 1974 only underlined how much the public didn't know about home-grown threats to democracy and free will. Gordon Willis's eloquent widescreen cinematography repeatedly isolates Joe in sterile, empty environments, while Parallax's "test" film reveals how patriotic values can be perverted and manipulated to serve a corrupt system. All of this proved too dark even for a 1974 audience that embraced such other challenging films of that year as The Godfather, Part II and Chinatown, making The Parallax View the sole flop of Pakula's trilogy. Regardless, its evocative visual style and implacably bleak tone make The Parallax View an effectively disquieting suspense thriller and a sign of its politically troubled times.