A high-priced call girl assists a detective in solving a missing persons case.
Directed by Alan J. Pakula
Written by Andy Lewis and David E. Lewis
Starring Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Charles Cioffi,
Roy Scheider, Dorothy Tristan, Rita Gam
Oscar Wins - Best Actress (Jane Fonda)
Oscar Nominations - Best Original Screenplay
I’m not going to lie, I watched Klute for the first time because Jane Fonda won the Oscar for her performance in it and I love watching some Fonda action, whether it be Henry, Peter, Jane, or whoever. Klute became a convenient watch when the Criterion Channel added a massive Jane Fonda collection at the beginning of January. She has a pretty fantastic filmography, so I want to continue watching her work to discover it all for myself. Klute has not only inspired me to watch Jane Fonda more, but it gives me an urge to watch all three films in Alan Pakula’s Paranoia Trilogy. Klute is the first, The Parallax View from 1974 is second and then All The President’s Men from 1976 finishes it off, which is a classic but I don’t know much about The Parallax View other than the fact that Warren Beatty stars in it. I’ll get to it one day! The older eras of film didn’t see a lot of sequels like we do today, so I like connecting films from previous decades like Aki Kaurismaki’s Proletariat Trilogy from the 80’s or Pakula’s Paranoia Trilogy from the 70’s. I like things that are connected thematically even if the characters don’t show up in multiple films within a trilogy.
Jane Fonda stars as a call girl in NYC named Bree Daniels, who gets mixed up in a gnarly crime. A whole lot of wrong place at the wrong time going on in Klute. The film gets its title from Donald Sutherland’s character who is a detective named John Klute. He is brought on a missing persons case in which Bree Daniels address is a major clue. Klute starts observing Daniels and when she finds out, an odd romance sparks between the two as they become a sort of investigative team.
The best stuff in Klute comes from Pakula's direction but mostly Fonda and Sutherland’s performances. Over the past 50 years, I think Fonda has kept this film alive and caused folks to seek it out and reevaluate it but I really do love what Sutherland is doing as Klute. As a dude in his 20’s, I automatically see him as some dominant old character but my mind has been altered because he was in his mid 30’s when Klute came out. The dude has been killing it for over 50 years, even as President bloody Snow this past decade in The Hunger Games films. My man Roy Scheider has a wacko performance as Bree Daniels former employer named Frank Ligourin. Scheider’s 70’s run is absolutely bonkers and I love it all. The performances in Klute are worth the watch, but it is totally a must see for fans of 70’s cinema. There’s some really interesting sounds matching the paranoid tone in the screenplay for Klute and Pakula’s touch is all over it, as he's a guy who clearly knew what he was doing during the 70’s.