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Today’s recommendation is for The Conversation — streaming on Prime Video. The thriller, which stars Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Frederick Forest, Cindy Williams, and a fresh-faced Harrison Ford, is often overlooked in Francis Ford Coppola’s legendary career. It’s understandable when that includes The Godfather Trilogy and Apocalypse Now (🚨two bonus recommendations)— The Conversation even lost Best Picture to The Godfather Part II. Nevertheless, it stands as one of his best.
Here’s what it’s about: Harry Caul (Hackman) is a surveillance expert with a love of jazz, hired by a mysterious client to record the conversation of a couple (Forest and Williams) walking through Union Square in San Francisco. However, amid pressure from the client’s aide (Ford), he believes he may have stumbled upon a murder plot. [Trailer]
Why you should watch it: I could spend hours talking about just the opening scene of The Conversation — let me know if you’re interested! It shows the mastery of Coppola as a director. He and DP Bill Butler use a mix of cross-cutting long shots and tight close-ups to amp up the feeling of paranoia while the sound design, too crisp at some points and too distant at others, slowly tightens the tension. Like you yourself are listening to something you shouldn’t be or someone is to you.
It’s that kind of glorious craft that makes The Conversation an all-timer for me. The tension he creates out of the slowly creeping plot gets under your skin to create a surprisingly tense psychological thriller. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll find the tragedy of Hackman’s Harry Caul. His burden and his loneliness add a melancholic tone to the entire film amidst the commentary on technology and privacy that is all too relevant today.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola // Runtime 113 mins // Year 1974 // Genre Thriller
One trailer you should watch
The classic 1992 horror Candyman (a favorite of mine) is getting the remake treatment (or spiritual sequel?) via Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions. The movie is directed by Nia DaCosta, whose directorial debut was the very solid crime thriller Little Woods (🚨bonus recommendation) starring Tessa Thompson and Lily James. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Teyonah Parris star along with the returning cast members Vanessa A. Williams and Tony Todd — the original Candyman.
Directed by Nia DaCosta // Year 2020 // Genre Horror
📺 In theaters June 12th
That’s it for today! Take it easy this weekend. Practice self-love. You deserve it.
See you next week!