Rewatched Alan J. Pakula’s The Parallax View (starring Warren Beatty) this recently–first time since seeing it in 1986—and am still baffled by a key plot device.
The film starts off with an assassination of presidential candidate at Seattle’s Space Needle. It’s clearly a huge press event and tons of people see the assassination happen. The assassin—disguised as a waiter—is chased to the roof where he falls to his death. Then in the days/weeks that follow, many people—six or more—are slowly dying off as time progresses with the implication being the Parallax Corporation is behind their deaths.
Okay, I completely buy the paranoid conceit of the film: That the Parallax Corporation’s main “product” was political assassination. But it still makes no sense to me why six or more witnesses to the initial assassination had to die. Did something play out wrong during that assassination that forced Parallax to clean up it’s mess? Was something revealed that would “out” Parallax in some way?
I know that there was another waiter there—with a gun clearly shown to the viewer–who I believe would be the initial assassin’s handler. Meaning if the first “patsy” assassin choked and did not follow through, this other assassin would jump in to get the job done and possibly kill the first “failed” assassin as well. But why go through the time, energy and effort to kill at least six innocent bystanders?