Gene Hackman (Harry Caul), John Cazale
(Stan), Allen Garfield (Bernie Moran), Frederic Forrest (Mark), Cindy Williams (Ann), Michael Higgins (Paul), Elizabeth MacRae (Meredith), Teri Garr (Amy), Harrison Ford (Martin
An exceptional thriller clearly born in the wake of
the paranoia following the Watergate scandal.
This is easily Gene Hackman's finest performance as a
surveillance expert, Harry Caul, almost religiously meticulous with his profession and equally as fastidious of his own personal privacy.
Caul is hired to record what turns out to be a very
cryptic conversation between an ordinary-looking couple in a park but when his employers start to act sinister he becomes obsessed with the voices on the tape, developing a conscience and
becoming drawn into a puzzle he didn't bargain for.
The tension builds throughout the film from a
relatively slow beginning to reach one of the finest crescendo's ever captured on film.
Francis Ford Coppola was arguably the best auteur of
the 70's and there's no surprise this movie was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar (it lost to The Godfather part II, also by Coppola), but this movie is all about Gene Hackman. Good
support is also provided by John Cazale & Harrison Ford, in the creepiest performance of his career.
While a lot of people may switch off before the hour
mark, I emplore you to stick with it. It is classic cinema!