Review: Three Days of the Condor
Blu-ray: Three Days of the Condor (1975)
The 1970’s, home of the conspiracy thriller (want a list? Here’s a few to jog your memory; The Parallax View, Chinatown, Capricorn One, Klute, The Conversation and Three Days of the Condor, whose reputation precedes it as one of the essential paranoia films of 1970’s.
Robert Redford plays Joey Turner who works for the American Literary Historical Society, located in a New York City brownstone with a curiously exaggerated amount of security. One day when Joey’s on lunch, armed gunmen storm the building and kill all the staff inside. On Joey’s return he realizes he should have been dead too. He runs away and makes a phone call where we finally find out Joey is a CIA agent codenamed Condor. Joey’s a clever guy and his intuition tells him to be cautious of everyone, even his superiors. At random, he kidnaps an unsuspecting Faye Dunaway and uses her apartment as a safe haven. There he plans to unravel the mystery behind the plot against him/the people he works for and there follows a cat and mouse chase between Condor and ‘The Bad Guys’.
Although this film is ultimately watchable, it is rather predictable and the ‘love’ story between Redford and Dunaway is weird. He keeps her tied up, releases her and she succumbs very willingly to his cack-handed seduction. But then he IS Robert Redford. Perhaps it made sense when the film was released, now it is very contrived and well…just plain weird.
The story is quite diluted in terms of character and we don’t know anything of Joey’s backstory, is he a spy? Has he had any training? There are two points of view in the picture – intercutting between Joey’s actions and the CIA reactions. While Joey’s movements are clear and logical with quiet time even devoted to his thought-processes, the CIA scenes are played blindly with a wiggy Cliff Robertson as Higgins’; the man in charge of bringing Joey in, hamming it up almost as much as Max von Sydow’s ‘is he good, or bad’? hitman character. Not a classic, but watchable.
Three Days of the Condor will be available to buy from April 11th 2016.