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Three Days of the Condor

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Three Days of the Condor

Starring: Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway
Director: Sydney Pollack
Rated: R
RunTime: 117 Minutes
Release Date: October 1975
Genres: Action, Classic, Suspense

*Also starring: Cliff Robertson, Max Von Sydow, John Houseman, Addison Powell, Walter McGinn, Carlin Glynn

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Review by Brian Koller
3 stars out of 4

Robert Redford was one of the biggest movie stars at the time that this cerebral, plotty thriller was released. Although commercially successful, "Three Days of the Condor" never quite achieved the critical attention of other Redford films of the era, such as "All the President's Men" and "The Sting". But "Condor" was a very good film as well, and its themes of governmental conspiracy and paranoia reflected cynical post-Watergate attitudes towards political institutions.

Redford's character is Joe Turner, initially a cheerful, well-read employee of the American Literacy Historical Society, a CIA front whose staff peruses spy novels to generate ideas for the agency's activities. Turner discovers and naively investigates evidence revealing a shadow organization within the CIA, which responds by hiring mercenaries to kill everyone at the ALHS.

Out to lunch, Turner is spared, but the hitmen led by Joubert (Max von Sydow) are still on his trail. Worse, his bosses at the CIA, especially Higgins (Cliff Robertson) and Wabash (John Houseman) also seem to prefer Turner dead. Desperate and paranoid, Turner kidnaps a beautiful and surprisingly sympathetic stranger (Faye Dunaway) for the use of her house and car. This creates a dubious if entertaining love interest subplot.

Predictably, the CIA executives are portrayed as duplicious and indifferent to human life. Turner makes an unlikely character transition from bookworm to action hero. Still, Redford's skills as an actor transcends his character, and the script is intelligent and well written. Joubert, both noble and sly, is a memorable hitman character.

Based on David Rayfiel's novel "Six Days of the Condor" (Hollywood is always abridging the classics), the film received a single Oscar nomination, for best editing. It was one of seven films starring Robert Redford that were directed by Sydney Pollack.

Copyright 1995 Brian Koller

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