A high-priced call girl is forced to depend on a reluctant private eye when she is stalked by a psychopath.
Once Bree breezes into Klute’s life, things will never be the same. Klute is directed by Alan J. Pakula and written by Andy and Dave Lewis. It stars Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Charles Cioffi and Roy Scheider. Music is by Michael Small and cinematography by Gordon Willis. When businessman Tom Gruneman (Robert Milli) mysteriously disappears, private detective John Klute (Sutherland) is hired to find out what happened. Travelling to New York, Klute follows a lead to high class prostitute Bree Daniels (Fonda), who is known to have had much correspondence with Gruneman. An uneasy relationship forms between Klute and Daniels, but when it becomes apparent that she is being stalked by someone sinister, Klute gets in far deeper than he ever could have imagined. Alan J. Pakula, a purveyor of 1970s paranoia infused cinema, lends his astute sense of screw tightening to make Klute a taut and menacing neo-noir. He gives us a New York cloaked in urban claustrophobia, a place populated with lost souls, of emotionally stunted abusers, and sexually charged murders. Right in the middle are John and Bree, two people in search of meaning and direction in life, brought together by way of a miserable scenario. Their respective psychological make-ups suggest complexities, yet this chapter in their life is not. The mystery element to the narrative is not particularly strong, but it doesn’t really need to be, such is the strength of the lead characterisations and the atmosphere rung out by Pakula’s sparse direction and Willis’ spectral photography. Fonda is terrific, a ball of emotionally conflicted fudge, sexy, feisty but ever so fragile, she deserved her Academy Award. Sutherland is equally ace, masking John’s inner anxieties with stoic outward bravado. While Scheider and Cioffi offer firm and telling support. A very strong neo-noir that is an ode to great film making techniques, where story and characters are chosen as being more important than visceral shocks. 8.5/10