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Monday, March 28, 2011

Klute (1971)

When a businessman turns up missing, a private detective (Donald Sutherland), who was also a good friend of the missing man, goes to New York to see a call girl (Jane Fonda) who may be able to provide some clues to the man's disappearance. As a thriller, this Alan Pakula film is a wash out. It's sloppily made with zero thrills and more than enough loopholes to be disconcerting. To call the film Hitchcockian is an insult to Hitchcock! However, as a character piece examining the anima of a call girl, it's superb! Fonda's performance is brilliant, a performance that ranks with Leigh in STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE and Falconetti in PASSION DE JEANNE D'ARC. From her physicality to her body language right down to the range of emotions displayed, Fonda sinks so far down into her character that you can't see anybody but Bree Daniels (Fonda). Who cares if it's a flop as a thriller when what you get is so much more than a proper thriller could ever give you. Gordon Willis provides the striking Panavision cinematography and Michael Small gives support with an effective score (even though it owes much to Ennio Morricone). The large and talented cast includes Roy Scheider, Rita Gam, Jean Stapleton, Charles Cioffi, Shirley Stoler, Jane White, Vivian Nathan and in a scene stealing turn as a junkie, Dorothy Tristan.

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