Catching Up: “Three Days of the Condor”

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The spy thriller is a genre so many love, yet so many get wrong. The thriller genre is tough as it is, but when it’s narrowed down even more, the juggling acting can get pretty tricky.

The hardest part, with older films, is do they hold up over all the years that have passed? Do the qualities that made them so great still make the film as unique as it once was?

With the Paramount Pictures film “Three Days of the Condor”, the question of lasting quality is more or less up for debate. Ask anyone and everyone and you’ll get a different answer each time.

This political thriller stars Robert Redford (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Lions for Lambs”), Faye Dunaway (“A Family Thanksgiving”, “Midnight Bayou”), Cliff Robertson (“Spider-Man” trilogy, “Charley”), and Max von Sydow (“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”, “Robin Hood”).

The film is directed by Sydney Pollack (” The Interpreter”, “Out of Africa”) and written by Lorenzo Semple Jr. (“Flash Gordon”, “King Kong (1976)”) and David Rayfiel (“Sabrina (1995)”, “The Firm”). The film is based on the book “Six Days of the Condor” by James Grady.

The film originally opened on Sept. 24, 1975.

The film would go on to be nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, amongst several nominations and wins.

While it’s fascinating and somewhat exciting to finally get around to watching a film that made Redford even more well known, it was also disappointing.

There could be many factors that make up why it’s hard to like this film, but I feel it’s the length of time that’s gone past. One thing that sets this apart from just being a spy film is that it came out shortly after the Watergate scandal. At that time people were really paranoid and this film was the perfect thing to feed off of that.

While this wasn’t a badly acted film, I don’t feel like there was anything special about any of the performances. Redford certainly was fun to watch as someone who’s suspicious of everyone and can’t figure out who to trust. He somehow managed to pull off the scared looking man, who was equally desperate for answers, but concerned for his life.

Dunaway was okay, but I feel she was still coming into her own. What she gave didn’t seem to carry the power of any of her better known performances. It could be some kind of a fluke. All she served as was surprised and scared innocent bystander. Beyond that, she practically served no purpose. The only thing resembling purpose was to help Redford pull off a few instances of spying and tracking down the enemy to gather information.

The score was so much like the ’70s. It seems obvious why, but at the same time, I expected a vastly different score. This film, because of the score, seemed to try to be a bit funny or light hearted, which is surprising as this film is supposed to be a thriller that keeps you tense and guessing or afraid.

There was only one moment that I felt held my attention and made me even the slightest bit tense. Redford’s character was going to meet with a friend, to come in and put an end to this frightening situation. When I think about it now, the outcome should’ve been obvious. Otherwise this would be a shorter film than it was.

For the few fight scenes that appeared, they were decent. Not at all great, especially since the sound effects during them sound terrible, but they were a noble effort. No worse, or better than that of any of the earlier Bond films.

The biggest issue I had with this, other than how dull and mildly slow paced, was this random sex scene. It being the 1970s there wasn’t anything overly graphic or unnecessary, except for the whole thing. I couldn’t buy, that after a few days, these strangers would suddenly get this desire to sleep with each other. To me, it came out of nowhere and dragged the film on even more.

While the films plot was dry and somewhat uneventful, the biggest upside is simply seeing a film that is considered a classic. I may not find anything all that exciting about this, particularly since I barely made it fully awake with the last 30 to 40 minutes of the film. Maybe some other time, if given the opportunity, I may enjoy it more, especially the crap dull ending that did nothing, yet again, but drag the inevitable out. However, I doubt it. The impact it once held is no longer relevant, and that can have a huge impact on the quality of any film. Some films just can’t make it through the decades that follow. As they say, timing is everything.

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