I was a bachelor last night (kids out or with friends, wife M out with friends) and I stumbled upon Gene Hackman and The Conversation by FF Coppola from 1974. I’ve watched that movie twice before and love it, and loved it for a third time. Here we have a lonely expert in survelliance (spying on people) who is obsessive about his own privacy to the point of neurosis; he is very human, and as the movie continues we see the foreshadowing that he is going to make mistakes and isn’t quite as “safe” as he thinks he is (e.g. the listening pen, later he receives a call on his unlisted phone number). His insecurity creates a lonely wall for him, and then when he finally (literally) unlocks the cage and opens up, he is first teased then has something stolen from him. And this is all before the plot twist at the end (which I didn’t make it to last night before falling asleep). What I love about this film in addition to Hackman’s performance is that it is a subtle, thoughtful and human film that doesn’t rely on drama to be interesting and compelling. It reminds me a lot in this way of the junior Coppola’s Lost In Translation, which I can’t watch since it makes me feel depressed (at times, especially since battling lung disease, I have to battle the detached feeling that Bill Murray’s character has in that movie).
By the way, the telescope in the Director’s office made me wonder how many hidden symbols there are in The Conversation relating to spying on other people (like a telescope). Sort of like all the criss-crossing things in the background of Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. Makes me want to watch again and see 🙂
I wish more movies were subtle and patient, like The Conversation.