#6 : The Conversation
Though I love The Godfather and it's fantastic sequel, I consider The Conversation to be Francis Ford Coppola's greatest achievement. Eerie, quiet, and haunting, this titan of cinema is an experience like no other. Afterwards, you start to become paranoid of the world around you, you question the technology our world has become obsessed with, and begin to realize the pure brilliance of the film. For a film made in the 70s, it's unnervingly relevant.
Harry Caul is one of cinemas greatest protagonists, acted phenomenally by the great Gene Hackman. Paranoia is a constant theme flowing throughout the film, and the lead character reflects the feeling in the best way possible. The character is somewhat of an oxymoron; despite his career consisting of listening to others, he despises discussing his own life, hates the recognition he gets, and keeps his personalty buried under his quietness. He serves as a symbol of the type after the cold war, a time of constant uncertainty and uncomfortableness. Everything about his character is so eerie, his lack of friends, his antisocial demeanor, the fact that he lived alone, everything is so well thought out and written. None of this would mean anything if it wasn't for the monumental performance Gene Hackman gave as this character, and how he portrayed everything this character felt without a constant flow of dialogue.
Minimalistic premises like this are hard to spread out across a feature length film, yet Francis Ford Coppola makes the film into an experience, feeling more like an emotion conveyed on screen then an actual movie. Despite the fact that the film is limited in dialogue, never once are you not at the very least interested in what is going on on screen. Everything builds up to the climax, which leaves you paralyzed with a feeling beyond words, one which is only felt once every few years, one which The Conversation gave to me.
As this challenge continues, it becomes harder and harder to put into words why I love each film. The Conversation is not something you can talk about in words, it's only something you can experience. (Continued in comments)