Vic’s Review – “Three Days of the Condor” (1975)

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What’s it About?

Robert Redford stars as Joe Turner, a New York-based CIA researcher who returns from lunch to find all his co-workers murdered.

“Three Days of the Condor” 

Directed by Sydney Pollack

8/10

“Three Days of the Condor” is a spy/drama thriller directed by the late, great director Sydney Pollack (Tootsie, Out of Africa). Even though it was released in 1975, it remains very ahead of it’s time. It stars Robert Redford, turning in a great performance as Joe Turner, an employee of a very secretive and clandestine department of the CIA. He is involved in a pretty freaky power struggle within the agency and since he is not a field agent gets hung up at every turn by the steely machinations of the plot provided by screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr, adapted from James Grady’s novel of the same name. Faye Dunaway portrays Kathy Hale, an unfortunate hostage victim taken by Redford at a ski shop until he can figure what his next move is among all the confusion, deceit and betrayal. The film is stunningly photographed by Owen Roizman, the same talented cinematographer of Bill Friedkin’s The Exorcist.

While out getting lunch one day, Turner’s co-workers are murdered by deadly armed assassins led by the seditious and icy Joubert played so intensely by the awesome Max Von Sydow (The Exorcist, Flash Gordon and Shutter Island ). After getting the code name Condor, he sets out with the help of fellow CIA operative Cliff Robertson to find out why everyone was murdered. Now the reason I say that this film is ahead of it’s time is because back in it’s day the content and subtext that permeate the film was just not prevalent in most modern day espionage thrillers. It gives much thought and depth to foreign affairs of the day which predate many plot twists and turns of many films of the same genre today. That is because Pollack stays true to the material and believes that his audiences are smart, reflective and savvy. He trusts his actors to bring realism to the performances and he really digs using that funky, groovy music of the times, too.

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“Three Days of the Condor” is a film of it’s times and it is very reflective of a turbulent era in history where we did not trust our government very much. It is about huge power struggles and intense themes of balances of power.  It is a taut and suspenseful thriller that does keep you guessing and expands our ideals to include things that affect us and other countries we do business with. And it’ll make you think twice before taking a package from a Postman ever again.

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12 comments

  1. Hey Vic never seen this, excellent review though. Sorry I am a little late. I’ve been so busy. Will explain in email. When I post reviews I just go to the app and post and I’m done.

    Hopefully when things slow down I’ll be active again. But with so much happening its tough to keep up

    • Thank you, Mark! I totally agree. Films with just the right amount of intrigue, drama and action are very rare indeed. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. This really is a gem and sadly one that’s not been seen by many of my age group (26 year olds)
    The right mixture between drama and action like you said already, are bloody hard to find. Thanks for reviewing this man!

    • Thanks for reading. This film is definitely a rare amalgam of intrigue, drama and suspense. A very cool thriller indeed and Pollack’s direction is slick and flawless.

    • Glad you liked, it Bill. This was an older review I had done for the now defunct The Movie Bros. movie blog. I decided to transplant it and fix it up for my page.

      This film rules on so many levels, no? And yeah, that first act is totally nail biting. Don’t make them too much like this anymore for sure. I appreciate you checking in, man!

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