April 22, 2020
Coppola’s suspenseful psychological thriller has iffy content
While it may not be Coppola's best, The Conversation certainly is a good work of his. It starts off slow-paced. We start learning more about the inside life of the main character, Harry Caul, played by Gene Hackman. The script is informative, giving us more information about our main character, that way we understand him more. It gives us several scenes showing Caul's reaction to being asked many questions, and the people he upsets as a result. The script teaches us about his character using these scenes, while the scenes may look boring. Also, the score is very intense, along with the sound effects used to highlight the suspenseful atmosphere of the film. These sound effects are successful in drawing a sense of suspense in the audience, making scenes even more intense than they could be. However, many scenes in the film don’t consist of background music. You will find scenes void of any music in the background, which actually is good for the movie. This technique makes scenes more realistic, rather than using a constant barrage of music that almost takes away the film’s realism. Coppola’s techniques make The Conversation a thrilling experience--even for people who may not understand the art of surveillance. By using easy terms, another successful technique used in The Conversation, the film is more easy to understand, which makes it entertaining. While The Conversation is a really good thriller with a great ending, that doesn’t limit some unnecessary strong profanities from littering the film, along with a couple other iffy elements. Here is the content description for the film: Positive messages: 6/10. While not filled with positive messages, the film does have one underlying positive message that we are all responsible for our actions, and that we have an opportunity to change situations. The film shows this message, while not being preachy about it. Positive role models: 3/10. While Harry is a hard worker, and truly has a caring heart, he is not always a good role model. Harry refuses to intervene and take risks in a deadly situation when he should be trying to change things. He also nearly falls apart psychologically as a result of a situation he has accidentally taken part in. Overall, some of Harry’s actions can be questionable. Violence: 7/10. While not extreme or frequent in any way, violence is a constant threat that is discussed and implied throughout the film. The violence, however, is only implied, with only the bloody aftermath of the act shown. However, there are brief cuts to a murder, nothing graphic shown. A dead body is also shown in a scene, with some blood on it. In another intense jump-scene, a bloody palm print is planted on a wall in a brief struggle, it is brief but still unexpected and intense. A toilet clogged with blood overflows in an unexpected scene. There is a brief but graphic discussion of murders. A brief struggle happens in one scene. Sex: 6/10. While not explicitly shown, there is an implied sexual situation between Harry and a woman. The woman removes her clothes, but it happens in the dark and nothing sensitive is shown. However, there are brief glimpses of her breasts, but it can only be vaguely seen from a far-away distance. Later on, Harry is shown shirtless, in bed with the woman. There is also another instance involving Harry and a girl kissing in bed, but nothing happens. It is implied that a man's wife has been cheating on him, nothing graphic but it is suggested. Profanity: 7/10. A couple instances of strong profanity. Religious profanities involve “for C**** sake” “g**d**n” and the “J” word; these profanities were completely unnecessary in the film. Other profanities include “b****” “h***” and a slur. Nowadays, this movie may have gotten a PG-13 because of its iffy content. Drinking/Drugs/Smoking: 3/10. Though not frequent, there are a couple instances showing adults drinking alcohol. Adults drink alcohol at a party in one scene, and Harry drinks alcohol with his girlfriend in another scene. However, adults do not drink to excess. Stan, a friend of Harry, asks if Harry would like to get a beer, but Harry refuses in the scene. Ultimately, this is a really good movie that includes a well-written script with well-written characters, especially the main character, Harry Caul. The script has scenes that, while detached from the main plot, are still important because they help us learn more about the main character. These scenes, while possibly boring, are informative because they offer insight into the characters Harry upsets and Harry himself. We are also entertained with a thrilling score that uses effective sound effects to highlight the tension of the scene. The high volume of the sound effects adds to the effectiveness of evoking tension in the audience. I am surprised that The Conversation didn't win any Academy Awards at the Oscars. It is a great thriller with a truly unpredictable ending that I won't spoil. However, I still wish some scenes and words used in the movie were edited out, particularly the unnecessary language used throughout the film, plus an implied iffy situation. However, I still really liked The Conversation, and give it 4 out of 5 stars, but recommend it for teens 14 and up due to the iffy content in the film.