Three Days of the Condor vs Casino Royale

While watching Three Days of Condor, I almost fell off my seat when one of scenes seemed very familiar. It was the scene towards the end when Turner is in Atwood’s home office, ready to interrogate or even kill him. This scene is very similar to a scene at the beginning of James Bond’s Casino Royale, in which Bond is sitting in the office of an MI6 agent by the name of Dryden. By killing Dryden, Bond would obtain 00 status. In both scenes the man with the gun(Turner and Bond) have the upper hand. They are in control and tell their victims what to do and what not to do. Although they are supposed to be the “good guys”, working for government agencies that are supposed to rid the world of evil, they are the ones who are holding the guns, hinting at the idea of moral ambivalence, which is common in film noir and movies about conspiracy. The two scenes contain other aspects of film noir. In the Condor scene, Turner is sitting in the dark, waiting for Atwood to arrive. In Casino Royale, Bond is waiting in the dark office for Dryden to arrive. Once Dryden arrives, the room is partially filled with sunlight but for the most part, both characters are covered in a shadow. These two scenes play on the use of lighting and moral ambiguity, which is typical in film noir.

John Hinckley and “Taxi Driver”

After doing some research on “Taxi Driver,” I stumbled upon a website about the assassination attempt on former President Ronald Reagan. Apparently he was shot by a man named John Hinckley Jr., who was obsessed with the movie and Robert DeNiro’s character, Travis Bickle. According to the article on the website, Hinckley imitated many aspects of Travis’ life. He wore the same outfits that Travis wore in the movie, wrote letters to his parents about his imaginary girlfriend, was obsessed with Jodie Foster, and of course, he tried to assassinate Reagan. Another point to note was that both Travis and Hinckley were both loners and outsiders within their society. It amazes me how the level of insanity consumed Hinckley’s life and how it paralleled with Travis’ character.

Not only did Hinckley imitate Travis’ looks but he also imitated Travis’ psychotic state of mind. According to the article, Hinckley believed that he could escape his loneliness and be rewarded for his actions by killing others, just as Travis had done when he killed Sport, the hotel manager, and the pimp. When looking at Hinckley’s attempted assassination on Reagan and the ruthless murders that Travis committed, we see that there was no justifiable reason for killing the victims of these crimes. The only driving force behind any of these killings was the suspects’ psychotic thinking and their false assumptions that killing these individuals would somehow cure their loneliness.

Ironically, it was determined that both Travis and Hinckley would not be severely punished for their crimes. Hinckley was acquitted because he was clearly insane while Travis was never sent to jail for murdering all of his victims. So in a literal sense, the crimes committed by Travis and Hinckley did free them in some way. It makes one reassess our legal system when murderers are free to once again roam the streets just because they plead insanity.

Fear, Paranoia, and Anxiety in M

First of all, I’d like to say that I really enjoyed this movie. I am not a big fan of black and white films and I think that is because I grew up watching color films and never had the motivation to watch black and white films. In this film especially, I noticed that the dark colors added to the sense of fear and paranoia in certain scenes. One scene where the use of lighting adds to the sense of fear for the viewer is the scene where the criminals are looking for the killer in the attic. The killer shuts off the lights so as to not be seen and the viewer has no idea what to expect, instilling a sense of fear within the viewer.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie was the scene in the office building. Being a very big fan of heist movies, this scene looked like it would be a perfect scene in a heist movie such as “Heat.” It had many elements of a heist movie including several criminals, a very devious motive, and it gave the viewers a sense of paranoia. I found it very ironic that I, as the viewer, found myself biting my nails throughout this scene while many of the crooks, who went into the building to capture the killer, did not seem to portray any sense of fear of the situation they were in; after all, they were chasing a killer. They seemed to walk into the building without any worries of being caught by the police. Once inside the building, the crooks freely walked around the building looking for a murderer. In the midst of all the fear and paranoia within that city, the criminals seemed to be focused on their mission to get rid of the killer in an effort to resume their “business.”