A View on the Parallax View

The definition of the word “parallax” is an apparent change in the position of an object resulting from a change in position of the observer, or an apparent change in the position of cross hairs as viewed through a telescope when the focusing is imperfect.  By knowing the definition of this word, the ending of the 1974 film, The Parallax View, is predictable, meaning to say that the protagonist won’t figure out there’s a twist until the very end, usually at the expense of their safety or even their lives.

One of the more interesting scenes was the video montage that was shown to Frady at his Parallax Corporation Testing session.  They showed various words and pictures depicting situations that accommodate that word.  At first the couplings were normal, for example, when the word “father” came up, it showed a picture of an elderly father figure.  However as the montage progressed, the words and the pictures became jumbled and started turning dark in the sense that the couplings took on a more sinister, malicious meaning.

The Iconic Montage from The Parallax View (From Youtube)

As opposed to the era before the “American New Wave”, most of the films that attracted the audiences to the theater were musicals and spectacles, intended to shock and dazzle the audience.  However, when the New Hollywood era started in the mid-1960’s, the filmmakers did a full 180 and heightened realism in their films as well as depicting anti-establishment political themes.  In The Parallax View, there is that anti-establishment motif when we find out about the Parallax Corporation, which is a company that hires trained assassins to kill off politicians and then frame it on an unsuspecting victim.  Also, this film is a prominent foil to the films of the era before it in the sense that there is very little background music aside from one little tune that plays at pivotal scenes.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film and if I had to compare this filmmaker’s style to one of our filmmakers today, I would definitely have to say that it does have a Shyamalanesque feel to it, just with less cheesy and predicable twists.





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