So 70's it hurts. Slow build to a very satisfying conclusion. I would've given this a higher score but there's too many random coincidences to appreciate it fully. It also adequately shows how badass a wrist knife is and the dangers associated with that. Hoffman is pretty good at breathing heavily
About halfway through this, I was in love. The thrills were intense, the chase scenes were frantic, and the plot beats were brilliant. Plus, I thought the robbery scene was as hilarious as the torture scene was horrifying. Unfortunately, the introduction and the conclusion bookending that amazing thriller were less than outstanding. The sewer scene isn't exactly Third Man, and the gaps in logic are frustrating. It's hard to take away too many points, though, given the level of acting throughout.
You can't achieve suspense without first establishing sympathetic characters; well I couldn't of cared less if Hoffman died in the first frame or the last. The film became more and more irritating as the logic holes and characters became increasingly more annoying. Not even glad I saw it to see it.
Marathon Man is not gracious with its pace, but there's a lot to appreciate from its slow burn. Conrad Hall is deservedly revered as a cinematographer, and his grungy depiction of NYC contrasted with the affluence of aristocratic Paris is nice on the eyes. That was good enough to keep me watching the whole thing, not to mention some decent chase scenes, but overall the story was fairly silly and awkward. It was well produced enough that I enjoyed it, but I just wish it was a little smarter.
MARATHON MAN feels like a group of very talented people--starting with William Goldman, the writer--came together to create a crowd-pleasing thriller, but in trying to craft a film without a theme, made one where the absence of a theme (at least a discernable one) is felt. It's still quite gripping; John Schlesinger's direction anticipates many a thriller to come, and a sense of unease is established and maintained--not least of all in the famous dental-torture scene. Good work from a fine cast.
Similar to Chinatown, various paranoid levels shift and collide beneath the film: like tectonic plates forcing an inevitable eruption of convulsive sentience; of twitching sounds and interpersonal 'untruths'. Yet for all Schlesinger's ambition, the film just feels very, very tacky. Its moments of intensity are marred by a confused story, and many scenes feel like a caricature of themselves, as though they don't live up to the grandeur befitting the ideas within. Interesting, but unsuccessful.