Monday, September 12, 2005

it could have been a brilliant career


Maybe I need to cancel my Netflix subscription. Every time I write about a movie I've just seen, it starts with "I finally got around to watching (movie), which I've had for about two weeks".

I finally got around to watching The Conversation, which I've had for about two weeks now. I liked it a lot, but I know I'm gonna have to watch it again.
Gene Hackman is great as the best wiretapper/surveillance expert "on the west coast". Like a contract hitman, he's not supposed to care about the subjects he surveils. It's just a job. On this job, though, he's haunted by past demons and becomes maniacally obsessed with keeping these people out of harm's way. In the process, he becomes quite paranoid, thinking that he himself is the subject of a surveillance project.
So here's what I want you folks (I'm looking specifically at you, Mrs. Howard) to think about and share your thoughts with me.

I think it's obvious that the couple know that they're being watched and eavesdropped. This is why they do the "walking around in circles" thing. This is also why they move to a particularly noisy area to discuss some of the important points. They may have known they were being surveilled, but they had no idea how sophisticated and elaborate the equipment was, or that EVERY WORD was captured on tape. One of the key points is the sentence "He'd kill us if he had the chance". The first time we hear it, there's no specific stress on any word. Later on as Caul replays the tape again and again, he suddenly hears emphasis on the word "us". "He'd kill US if he had the chance". Certainly changes things and makes it clear that they're plotting a murder that they feel the need to justify. However, it's quite possible that the stress wasn't really there, and it was a product of Caul's mania.
Right about the same time of the conversation, the couple walks past the "half-dead" bum on the park bench. The man says "He's not hurting anyone", and Shirley from TV's Laverne and Shirley says "Neither are we." That has to mean something, but I don't get it. Obviously, they are hurting somebody. I'm not sure why she says this.

Okay... to the big question. At the end, where's the bug? OR... is there a bug at all? Is he just going crazy with paranoia like that guy in Pi. If there is a bug, some folks think that it's inside the actual saxophone. To support this, they point to a very brief flash across the screen of a dude carrying a saxophone at the surveillance expo. Why on earth would a guy have a saxophone there? I don't think I can support the "in the saxophone" theory, as the recordings would have been horrible at best. Too distorted to be useful. I like to think that the girl who took the tapes while he was sleeping also planted a bug somewhere in the frames of his glasses. There's a bunch of theories about how they used some telephone activated satellite recording, but I don't think I can subscribe to any of those theories.

Like I say, if there was a bug, I like to think it's in his glasses. It is fun, though, to think about the possibility that it's all in his head.

What say you?

now playing:
Flaming Lips -- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

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