To me, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation is a near-perfect film: well made, well told, well performed. The storytelling is focused and controlled and, as with all good stories, the mystery works in pleasing tandem with the main character’s own inherent fears and anxieties.
But beyond quality (pah! quality!) I loved the way the film repeated the conversation, to which the title refers, over and over again. I wish I’d been able to watch this film in the theatre, rather than in front of my laptop with its tinny-tiny speakers, but alas.
The film revolves around an audiotape, and the conversation between a man and a woman recorded on it. The main character Harry, played pitch-perfectly by Gene Hackman, is a surveillance expert who has recorded the tape for a mysterious client.
Harry listens to it over and over again, adjusting the levels and patching the different feeds together in order to get a clear master version of what the couple is discussing. But the more he listens to it, the more anxious he becomes about what the conversation really means and to what end handing the tape over might lead.