Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what I’ve seen over the past week either in film or television. On the film side, if I have written a full length review already, I will post a link to that review. Otherwise, I’ll give a brief snippet of my thoughts on the film with a full review to follow at some point later. For television shows, seasons and what not, I’ll post individual comments here about each of them as I see fit.
So, here is what I watched this past week:
In 1974, Francis Ford Coppola was one of the most prominent directors working in Hollywood. While working on the sequel to his Best Picture-winning film The Godfather, Coppola prepared the surveillance thriller The Conversation.
Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is a well known wire-tapper, a surveillance expert recognized in the community for his clever and result-inducing methods. Having moved to San Francisco after an unfortunate job in New York City where his data resulted in the death of one of the observed, the incident haunts him. As he works his new case, the threat of murder once again rears its ugly head and Caul struggles to come to terms with his potential role in the affair causing him to question his own sanity.
Coppola’s film hit right as the news of Richard M. Nixon’s presidency-toppling wire-tapping was making news. Although his film was perfectly timed, it was not at all influenced by the Watergate scandal. Hackman delivers a perfectly conflicted performance in a film that uses its vast soundscape to envelop the viewer in its twisting narrative. Coppola’s screenplay is crisp, intense and terrifying. Delving into the world of illegal surveillance gives the audience a glimpse into the depraved and misguided practice and the lives it can destroy in the process. Sound designer and editor Walter Murch was responsible for much of the film’s success. While Coppola was in the editing bay for The Godfather, Part II, Murch was given free rein over the film. The film deserved its Oscar nominations, especially for Best Sound and should have won the award. Hackman should have been nominated and the film’s fascinating cinematography should also have been cited.