A truly enigmatic thriller and a key film of the '70s, brilliantly scripted by Alan Sharp. Hackman is the private eye torn apart from within, unable to come to terms either with his father or his errant wife, but doggedly, almost pointlessly, pursuing a wayward daughter for an equally wayward mother. Sharp's elusive, fragmented script precisely catches the post-Watergate mood, while Penn's direction brilliantly parallels the interior/exterior investigation. A very pessimistic film, it ends exactly at the moment that Hackman understands what has happened but can do nothing about it. Essential viewing.
Cast and crew