Feb 042021

The Parallax View is an entertaining if not a bit far-fetched conspiracy theory political thriller born out of the Kennedy assassination. Warren Beatty delivers a solid performance, even if some shots seem to be for a GQ photo shoot.



The Parallax View
— The Criterion Collection —

Genre(s): Political Thriller
The Criterion Collection | R – 102 min. – $39.95 | February 9, 2021

Date Published: 02/04/2021 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Writer(s): Loren Singer (novel); David Giler, Loren Singer (screenplay)
Cast: Warren Beatty, Hume Cronyn, William Daniels, Paula Prentiss, Walter McGinn

Features: Interviews
Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (PCM 1.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.39
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 47.16 GB
Total Bitrate: 40.27 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

The Criterion Collection provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3½/5

Plot Synopsis: After a presidential candidate is assassinated, political reporter Joe Frady (WARREN BEATTY) begins to suspect that the mysterious Parallax Corporation may be involved. As he investigates, others who share his suspicions start turning up dead. Eventually, Frady uncovers a conspiracy bigger than anyone expected and must race to prevent the corporation’s next big hit.

Review: The Parallax View is a conspiracy-based political thriller akin to something like Three Days of the Condor or The Manchurian Candidate and while those movies were far superior in almost every regard, including the direction, I still found Parallax to be an interesting endeavor from director Alan J. Pakula.

The film was made during a time of turmoil apparently, with a writers’ strike not to mention the Watergate hearings. The writers’ strike however did make for an interesting production which forged ahead due to Warren Beatty’s pay-or-play contract and you can tell, at times, some dialogue was done on the fly, though at least Beatty’s performance was solid, if not especially memorable when you compare him to Redford (in both Condor as well as All President’s Men, directed by Pakula).

On the downside, the film is far-fetched and even taking it seriously, doesn’t make a lick of sense. Why is this Parallax Corporation assassinating senators? Who knows. It’s never really explained. And like in many movies, the villains kind of make it hard on themselves by offing people who could easily be labeled as crackpots, people not taken seriously by a media that at that time wasn’t terribly skeptical, in fact pretty idealistic when it came to the politicians.

In addition, the technical aspects were a little amateurish with some terrible ADR (one scene in particular goes from on-location dialogue to ADR and back again). And while one of the explosions on a boat was impressive, another on a plane was done off-screen with the camera shaking instead of actually seeing it. Kind of takes the impact away from what was an otherwise tense scene.

With that being said, couldn’t help but be amused at the convoluted aspects and in that regard, was fairly entertaining. And in addition, the cinematographer by Gordon Willis was fantastic, some fantastic shots (in conjunction with some stark locales) that really makes the movie stand out and make up for some of the deficiencies.



This release comes in a clear HD keep case and inside a thick booklet with an essay and interview with Pakula from an article of “Filmmakers Newsletter” in 1974.

Alex Cox Introduction (15:00) — Recorded for the Criterion Collection, filmmaker Alex Cox discusses the themes of the movie including that of conspiracies.


  • Alan J. Pakula 1974 (17:59) — AFI’s Harold Lloyd Master Seminar series
  • Alan J. Pakula 1995 (5:55) — Recorded by the AFI
  • Gordon Willis (18:17) — Recorded for the American Society of Cinematographers in 2004
  • Pulling Focus: Construction The Parallax Video (14:56) — Recorded for the Criterion Collection, Jon Boorstin discusses working on the written psychology test and the Parallax test video


VIDEO – 4¾/5

The Parallax View debuts on Blu-ray through The Criterion Collection and is presented in its original 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio and has been given a new 1080p high-definition transfer. Culled from a 16-bit 4K scan from the original 35mm camera negative, the picture has been cleaned up of thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices and other flaws; color had been adjusted based off of a 2005 master approved by cinematographer Gordon Willis and fine-tuned by the film’s original color timer, Jon Boorstin. Now, beyond that technical info, the transfer here is excellent, which I would expect from Criterion, detail is sharp and although it is pretty dark, I assume that is how Pakula intended it to be. It’s another masterful work and I assume this has never looked better.

AUDIO – 4½/5

The movie includes a PCM Mono track. For the most part, it’s a well balanced singular lossless track, restored from the original 35mm magnetic track. Most of the movie is dialogue driven but there are a few scenes, such as the dam water pouring out in the background that provides some fine depth. Plus, there were no apparent pops or hisses.


OVERALL – 3¾/5

The Parallax View is an entertaining if not a bit far-fetched conspiracy theory political thriller born out of the Kennedy assassination. Warren Beatty delivers a solid performance, even if some shots seem to be for a GQ photo shoot but the cinematography was top notch. The Blu-ray release by The Criterion Collection has great video and audio transfers and some okay bonus material.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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