Starring: Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland
Director: Alan J Pakula
When a man goes missing, a small town detective gets on the case to track him down, but his only lead is a prostitute in New York. Things soon get complicated as there is more to the case than meets the eye: a possible conspiracy, and also he might be falling in love with the prostitute at the heart of the crime.
It’s A Must See Because: the back and forth between Bree Daniels (Fonda), the prostitute at the heart of the case, and Klute (Sutherland) the detective is so intense and interesting. Each likes the other, but doesn’t want the other to know it. Each needs to dominate the situation. And each needs the others help.
Bree is an interesting character and Fonda won an Oscar for her performance in this film. She’s complex, with her escort work arising out of a need or compunction more than from a financial incentive. We see her speak about these reasons with her shrink in various scenes, and we witness this in her own compulsive behaviour that has clearly led her into trouble. She’s quite mean to Klute at times, but he initially seems like someone who wants to be in control and dominate her, and his reasons for his actions are about as innocent as hers.
I also feel that whilst this relationship is at the foreground of the film, the plot is very strong, with the detective investigating the disappearance, and slowly uncovering something that’s a lot bigger and darker than the initial missing persons case would suggest. The film is sexy, intense, dark and manages to keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing, even all these decades later.
See It If: you’re a fan of thrillers, this is a classic, or if you love Jane Fonda, she’s really something in this film!