FOR PERSONNEL WITH PROPER SECURITY CLEARANCE ONLY: The following review may contain references which could be considered spoilers. For those who have yet to see the film- shame on you and don’t dare call yourself a cinephile until you do -approach at your own risk, but don’t later whine about the results of your own incautious behavior.
Sydney Pollack’s “Three Days of the Condor” is an exemplary example of what was known as the “cinema of paranoia” in which many film maker’s during the early to mid 1970’s (during the height of the Vietnam era, the Watergate years and the immediate aftermath) addressed the increasing corrosion of public confidence and spiraling distrust in, not only the government, but in the very solidity of the traditional values which binds our society together. Hollywood’s first overtly incursive move into the arena of growing social disaffection was defined by a wave of rebellious collegiate youth films, which succeeded neither in defining the roots of that disaffection with clarity, nor portrayed the youth movement itself as being comprised of anything but clueless and oversexed antagonists, aimless in their discontent, inarticulate in expressing those same discontents, and generally characterized as shallowly as cast members in a Beach Blanket movie, only fortified with a few hits off of a joint. (Though to be fair, there is more than a comfortable basis in reality for such a lethargic characterization: is there any more poignant moment illustrating an exposed vein of indifference than Country Joe McDonald’s exasperated plea to a stoned out crowd of almost one half of a million spectators of “socially conscious” youths to take an interest in joining in on the one overtly anti-Vietnam anthem of the entire [as filmed] three day festival in Michael Wadleigh’s interesting and revealing- though not in the way that veterans of 1960’s “enlightenment” would have you believe -“Woodstock”?)
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