Though a fantastic taut thriller that keeps the viewer enthralled from the opening credits through the finale, the film does fall down a little with the specific reasons for the events being set in motion. Though an explanation is provided, it isn’t a terribly satisfying one nor is it really ever fully explored – the film is more interested in the moral issues and the notion of the big-bad government than it is in the specifics.
However, Pollack, Redford, and the rest of the cast are able to make this glossing over acceptable – the specifics are, as Hitchcock would have said, the MacGuffin, and the film is very much in the Hitchcock mold. Turner is the classic Hitchcockian average guy thrown into extraordinary circumstances who must rise to the occasion. Though Hitchcock’s style is often imitated with poor effect, Pollack – a more than accomplished director in his on right – does a brilliant job here.
The biggest disappointment with the Blu-ray release is the dearth of special features included in the set. In fact, only one exists – the theatrical trailer. As for the technical side of the release, some slight amounts of dirt are noticeable early on in the film, and a few scratches exist here and there, but the transfer is still a very good one for a film that is more than 30 years old. There is a grain to the video that works beautifully with the 1970s’ New York that the film depicts. The colors, while muted, are intended to be so and convey the late-fall/early-winter season beautifully. The audio mix – 5.1 Dolby TrueHD – is also a good one, with clear tones and it squarely places one in the streets of New York alongside Redford as the world whizzes past him.
Three Days of the Condor is a classic political thriller with a great cast and questions about our society and politics which remain relevant even today. It doesn’t hit all the right notes, but it manages to get enough of them in to make the piece intriguing and enjoyable more than three decades after its initial release.