Thursday, 20 August 2015

Three Days of the Condor

Lowdown: A CIA clerk finds himself in the middle of a very life threatening political conspiracy.
If you were ever wondering how an ancestor of today's techno thriller might have looked like, look no further than 1975's Three Days of the Condor. A movie that many of today's conspiracy theory type thrillers owe a lot to.
Robert Redford is a CIA agent code named Condor. He's stationed at what seems to be an ordinary American office building but is, in fact, a secret CIA base that scans all published books using the latest technology (a scanner that very mechanically flips through pages and then prints them on a dot-matrix printer!). Redford is no James Bond; his day job is to simply read the books and report anything deemed worthy of reporting.
Well, something he has read must have been deemed worthy, because shortly afterwards, while Agent Condor is out for lunch, a group of people enter the office and kill everyone in there. Thus our Condor is left to cater for himself as he slowly uncovers what the hell is going on around him and why everyone seems intent on killing him. On his way he kidnaps a civilian (Faye Dunaway) and an unlikely, and frankly credibility lacking, relationship follows.
Three Days of the Condor definitely shows its age. There are no special effects to talk about, and by today's standard things look dreary. However, make no mistake about it: it is exactly this simplicity that gives this Sydney Pollack film the authenticity most of today's crop lack in their quest to bedazzle. Of course, that authenticity is aided by real life demonstrating to us that the ghosts our Condor ends up fighting with are very real; I will refer you to my comrade Mr Edward Snowden for further discussions on what happens to a clerical agent who seeks to do good as they uncover the scheming of the powerful organisations pulling the strings of our society, unchecked.
Guess nothing has changed in the past 40 years.
Overall: Old style, for better and a tad of worse. 3.5 out of 5 crabs for what was once a benchmark and probably still is.

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