The Parallax View

Bomb Rating: 

This is a movie for all those wackos convinced that the Warren Commission was paid by the Mafia to cover up the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald was an extraterrestrial clearing the way for Elvis to meet Julie Nixon in a White House bathroom in order to conceive the Antichrist.

This is a movie for all those wackos convinced that the Warren Commission was paid by the Mafia to cover up the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald was an extraterrestrial clearing the way for Elvis to meet Julie Nixon in a White House bathroom in order to conceive the Antichrist. Released in the era of Watergate, this film appears perfectly timed to appeal to every paranoid in the country. One watches it and gets the image of a twentysomething Oliver Stone sitting in the back row of the theater in 1974, experiencing his first nubby little erection ever.

Warren Beatty plays a reporter who witnesses the murder of a political candidate, but isn't convinced there's anything funny going on until an old girlfriend shows up and mentions that she's going to end up dead. Before you can say "Psychic Friends Network," she's sporting a toe tag. This inspires Beatty to start investigating, much to the chagrin of his boss (Hume Cronyn). Then one of the political candidate's aides (William Daniels) turns up looking like he's been living in a garbage can for the last three years, and the whole conspiracy angle starts to look more promising.

This movie is grist for those of us who have discovered the value of political apathy. Like "All the President's Men," it's one of those laughably dated films that posits journalists as heroes, not the celebrity-chasing, PR-swilling pond scum we now know them to be. As a piece of nostalgia for 1974, "The Parallax View" screams the following: "Welcome to the era of conspiracies and comb shortages." I never could figure out why Warren Beatty couldn't comb his hair.

Isn't it always funny how these incredibly secretive conspiracies manage to take care of every miniscule detail, save for that one wandering, bedraggled character who knows all the dark secrets? I don't think we have too much to fear from a conspiracy that can figure out how to kill a political candidate in front of hundreds of people, yet can't figure out how to get rid of that single dangerous babbling lunatic.

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