|Name: Alan J Pakula
Born: April 7, 1928
Strengths: Innovation, Structure
Best Movie: All the President’s Men
Making a name for himself initially as a producer of 1962’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Alan J Pakula was to become one of the defining directors of arguably US cinema’s greatest decade, the 1970’s. The primary architect of the ‘paranoid thriller’ which, on its own, seemed to encapsulate the American public’s sense of disenfranchisement and distrust with the power structures of the day, he helped steer cinema into profound and unsettling territory alongside the likes of Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. Though best known for 1976’s All the President’s Men, it’s his earlier films, namely Klute and The Parallax View, which embody his dark film-making style the strongest and while not as comprehensively good as the former, they are flush with the type of innovation that was required for the thriller’s 1970’s genre shift. The 1980’s and 90’s saw Pakula’s work rejoin the mainstream to a surprising degree and though he still managed to produce several engaging thrillers, they failed to reach beyond their narrative parameters like his 70’s classics did.
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