Klute (1971)

Reid, 24. December 2007, 13:44

Dir. Alan Pakula
Starring: Jane Fonda (Bree Daniels), Donald Sutherland (John Klute), etc.
6/10

I think many idiots would find this entertaing on some level; some of you may really like certain aspects (more later).

**
The film is about a detective, John Klute (Sutherland) looking for a close friend who has been missing. The big lead he has is a call girl, Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda) who may have known this missing person, a surprise to many since the man seemed happily married. Along the way, we see the seedy underworld of drugs and prostitutes. Is the friend alive? Was there foul play? What was Bree Daniels’ connection to all of this? Watch the film and you’ll find out.

The film is an OK thriller, but it’s a really a character study of Bree Daniels–revealed through a relationship with Klute. (”Bree” would have been a more accurate title of the film.) Many criitics highly regarded her performance, and this is what some of you may really get into.

***
So what did I think of Fonda’s Oscar winning performance? I thought her performance was OK. What took away from it, imo, was that I noticed her acting. The specific scenes are thinking of are the ones where she’s with her psychiarist. Maybe this was partly due to the writing: the dialogue was filled with 70’s slang, that seemed corny and even false (I just had a hard time believing real people actually spoke that way) and the notion of exploring a call girl and the transformation from being emotionally detached to falling in love seemed a bit contrived.

I also didn’t care much for Charles Cioffi as the villian. He just didn’t seem menacing enough. My dissatisfcation may also stem from the climactic scene–where Cioffi’s character confronts Fonda’s and Sutherland comes in to save the day. I felt indifferent to what was going on.

Having said all that, my criticisms above didn’t take too much away from watching the film with interest, specifically the watching the evolution of Bree Daniels and her relationship with Klute. I also thought the filmmakers didn’t good job creating suspense and mystery. From the git-go, we learn about this missing man, and I wanted to know what happened to him. The use of shadows and camera angles–creating a sense that someone is watching Bree–was effective. For the most part I found the development of the relationship between Bree and Klute, starting off with the characters at arm’s length and slowing evolving into an emotional relationship, interesting to watch. Klute is a straight-laced (Bree refers to him as “square” at one point) detective, while Bree is not. There are some false steps, or at least steps that aren’t entirely convincing, but not so much to competely ruin my interest.

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