It’s not bad or unwatchable but despite the amplitude of the spectacle, the end result is underwhelming.
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Tracking down a man who mysteriously vanished, a private detective encounters a call girl frightened by threatening phone calls that may be linked to the disappearance in this stylish if convoluted Alan J. Pakula thriller. A master of suspense and paranoia, Pakula films the material well, favouring dark lighting and mobile camera-work. An especially memorable bit has the camera ever-so-slowly zoom out while our heroine stares into the black of night with her phone ringing ominously on the table beside her. Effectively filmed as 'Klute' may be, the screenplay pulls in too many directions at once and a second viewing does little to help. Initially, the film is about the search for the missing man, but then it turns into a character study of Jane Fonda's call girl who is unsure why she loves prostitution, then it becomes a romance, despite little chemistry between Donald Sutherland and Fonda, then it becomes character study and missing person mystery thriller again. A second viewing does, however, reveal more depth to Fonda's performance; her confession scenes, rationalising that prostitution is "an act" that makes her feel like she has "some control" are excellent, if infrequent and interspersed with moments in which she simply has to look scared. The photography by Gordon Willis and atmospheric music, courtesy of Michael Small, are superb too and provide the movie with an unshakable sense of dread. This is not a film to watch for its story. It is, however, a film to watch for its portrait of characters caught up in a frightening world that they cannot, for all their efforts, really control.
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"Klute" appealed to me as a crime thriller (and with Alan Pakula's name attached, you know it's going to be good), and I'll freely admit that it took me a while into the movie's running time to realize that's not what the movie's really about. First off, Jane Fonda owns this movie (Sutherland, despite top billing and a title named for his character is the supporting player). It's really about her call girl character's feeling trapped in a world for which she has no love; the self-loathing and uncertainty, her very mental state are what make this an interesting character. And calling it a memorable performance is putting it lightly. In a movie that deserves attention for its lighting, atmosphere and twisty narrative, you can't get her out of your head.7/10
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"Klute" tries to be two different things, is better at one than the other, but does neither amazingly well.When the movie begins, it's a thriller about a policeman going freelance to help track down a missing family friend. The only lead he has to go on is a connection the missing man seemed to have with a New York prostitute, Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda).When the policeman, played by Donald Sutherland, encounters Fonda, the movie becomes a strange love story, bolstered by a character study of the Fonda character. She's a hooker who wants to quit and become an actress, but is addicted to the sense of power and satisfaction her day job provides her with. She acts, flawlessly, with each man, discovering what they want and becoming it. Scenes with a psychiatrist reveal Fonda's hidden vulnerability, that her aloofness and cynicism mask a fundamental need she has that prostituting herself addresses and acting for the screen may not.This is, indeed, another great performance by Fonda, similar to her earlier turn in the classic "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" So why is the movie called "Klute"? We find out very little about Sutherland's role. It is clear that he is an honourable man who wants the best for this woman he is entrusted to, but we don't find out very much else about him.The movie is only a thriller in the way it begins and ends. At the end I was past caring; the thriller aspect seemed foreign to Bree Daniel's story.It is superior as a love story, simply because we get more Fonda that way. But it's still not perfect: aren't love stories supposed to be about two people? Klute is too distant, we don't see enough of him to understand why Fonda would really develop feelings for this man.There are reminders throughout the movie that we are supposed to be watching a thriller. They take us by surprise because they are so out of place. Fonda's performance is worth the price of admission, but be prepared to sit through some extraneous content before you get to it.
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A small-town detective (Donald Sutherland) searching for a missing man has only one lead: a connection with a New York prostitute (Jane Fonda).Jane Fonda won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the film. And she is alright, and still receives such great praise. But come on... Donald Sutherland! That guy turns everything he touches into gold. Perhaps one of the most under-rated performers of the 20th 9and 21st) century.This is a great detective story with twists and turns. Alan Pakula is not a name that many people know, and I have to wonder why. He consistently made great films. Yet, you rarely hear anyone sing the praises of "Klute" or "The Parallax View". Shame on you, movie lovers!