films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


The Pelican Brief

1993 / 141m - USA
Thriller, Crime
The Pelican Brief poster

Classic political thriller from the hands of Pakula. Pakula is familiar with the genre, the film is based on a Grisham novel, so you should pretty much know what to expect purely based on those parameters. Add a little Hollywood star power and you have a decent, though rather basic, and predictable film.

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When two supreme judges are murdered, people are looking for answers. A young law student stumbles upon the reason, but this knowledge puts a big old target on her back. With the help of a journalist she manages to stay out of trouble, but she won't be safe until the truth is out there.

The film is quite slow and quite long, which aren't great traits for a film that is heavily focused on its narrative. The styling is pretty mediocre, the performances aren't anything special and the plot is by the numbers. It's a pretty polished film in its genre, but hardly worth a mention unless you're a real fan of political thrillers.

All the President's Men

1976 / 138m - USA
Drama, Thriller
All the President's Men poster

The Parallax View

1974 / 102m - USA
The Parallax View poster

A bona fide 70s thriller. It's not as bad as some of its peers though, in part because the runtime stays clear from the 2-hour mark. The pacing is a bit smoother and the film also looks a little less dim and washed out, but it's still a basic, dry and by-the-numbers investigative crime thriller. Not really my cup of tea.

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Carter witnesses the assassination of a presidential candidate and she sees the killer apprehended. But three years later all the witnesses have died, apart from Carter. When she visits her former boyfriend, he warns her that something fishy is going on. Not much later Carter is found dead.

The story is pretty meticulously told and the build-up of the tension is pretty decent, it's just that I find films like these severely lacking in a cinematic sense. It's proper storytelling without much else going on, which isn't what I expect from an audiovisual medium. Certainly not the worst of its kind, but I just don't see the appeal.


1971 / 114m - USA
Crime, Thriller
Klute poster

A typical 70s crime/thriller, almost saved by the slightly above average lead performances. The name of the film has always stood out to me, but I'm not a big fan of 70s grime and Pakula isn't really my kind of director, so it took me a while to get around to it. Maybe that's why I was somewhat pleasantly surprised this wasn't the complete disaster I was expecting.

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John Klute is a private detective looking for a man who went missing. As he follows his trail, he meets Bree, a New York prostitute who might know more about the case. Klute tries to scam her into helping him, but as the two spend more time together, a romance begins to develop between them.

The dreary cinematography is a turn-off and the pacing is pretty problematic. But Sutherland and Fonda do a pretty solid job, adding intrigue to their characters to offset some of the inherent boredom. The plot isn't too exciting either, but I've definitely seen worse from this genre/era.

Presumed Innocent

1990 / 127m - USA
Presumed Innocent poster

As someone with a documented love for maximalist cinema, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that courtroom thrillers aren't exactly my favored genre. They are stuffy by design, tailored to be driven by heavy dialogue and sudden/random reveals. Presumed Innocent didn't do much to change that.

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Rusty is a respected lawyer, but when a colleague of his is brutally murdered, he is looking at some tough time ahead. He is assigned to investigate the case. Many of the clues seem to lead back to him, and the fact that he used to have an affair with this colleague. Before he knows it, Rusty's the one on trial.

There are some twists and turns scattered throughout, but as I didn't care for the character or the plot, they weren't all that rewarding in the first place. The performances are plain, the presentation is dire and two hours is quite long for a film that never excites. Like many 90s thrillers, this one didn't age very well.

Sophie's Choice

1982 / 150m - USA
Drama, Romance
Sophie's Choice poster

Though the film is quite famous for its central conundrum, it's really just the abstract notion of the impossible choice that stands out here. The film itself is a schmaltzy, insincere and badly directed tearjerker that outstays its welcome. The worst kind of Oscar bait really, no surprise it took me so long to catch up with it.

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Stingo is a young writer who moves to New York to further his career. He ends up staying in a house with Sophie (a Holocaust survivor) and Nathan (an American Jew fascinated by the Holocaust). Stingo is infatuated with Sophie, who appreciates his attention and slowly opens up, baring her tragic past.

Apart from MacNicol's solid performance, there's very little to like here. Streep's atrocious Polish accent, the sentimental plot, the lyrical dialogues and the tepid pacing all drag the film down. Not even the famous scene managed to impress me, which just illustrates the overall poor showing of Pakula. Very drab.