Brian De Palma, the director of such ’70s and ’80s shockers as “Carrie” and “Scarface” and more recently, the anti-war manifesto “Redacted,” is going back to his roots with a political chiller, called “The Key Man,” according to Deadline. Described by backer Bill Block as recalling classic ’70s conspiracy thrillers, such as “Three Days Of The Condor'” and “Marathon Man,” the story has been described as about a single father who’s targeted by U.S. government agents because his body contains answers to important national secrets.
Written by British writer-director Joby Harold (“Awake”). the film seems to go with De Palma’s past and renewed political concerns and conspiratorial anti-government views (see in a raft of his films, from “Greetings” to “Blow Out” to “Casualties of War”).
When I interviewed De Palma on the eve of the release of “Redacted,” he came across as a man of conviction (and a little paranoia), still somewhat shell-shocked by the horrors of Vietnam and upset about the country’s military exploits.
“The audience should be upset,” he told me. “I’m upset. I’m upset that the Fourth Estate has collaborated with the administration and sold a bill of goods to the American people about why we’re there and what we’re doing.”
“The Key Man” is aiming for a wider mainstream audience, however, so it’s sure to be less confrontational than “Redacted.”
Scribe Joby Harold, who was at one time adapting Frank Miller’s “Ronin,” has said one of his main influences is early Roman Polanski, which I’d say bodes well for “The Key Man.”
Though I wouldn’t call myself a fan of De Palma’s often blunt and lurid in-your-face style, the man wants to affect change and have an impact, which should be applauded. As evidence, check out this post, “De Palma’s ‘Be Black, Baby’: Everything ‘Redacted’ Should Have Been” I wrote about a celebrated sequence in his early 1970 film provocation “Hi Mom!” (pictured).