XL Popcorn – Klute

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 706/1007Title: Klute
Director: Alan J. Pakula
Year: 1971
Country: USA

It’s been a while since I last watched a movie because of an episode of You Must Remember ThisHowever, after listening to the season where the lives of Jean Seburg and Jane Fonda are compared and contrasted, I knew that I had to see Klute (I also really want to see They Shoot Horses Don’t They, but that’s not in the 1001).Especially since I already watched Breathless a few years ago.

Up until watching Klute my only exposure to Jane Fonda in a movie was Barbarella, which is pretty shameful considering she is one of the few performers that can boast two Oscar wins. Having seen her in Klute… I do wonder what the hell I have been waiting for.

Just going to start with a bit of a moan about the title. Whilst I understand that Klute is named after the director played by Donald Sutherland (who, don’t get me wrong, gives a strong performance), but the film belongs to Jane Fonda and the character of Bree. She is exceptional and magnetic and all the other superlatives that you can think of for an acting performance. It’s just such a pity that the rest of the film doesn’t quite hold up to her (and Sutherland’s) performance.

The problems that I had with Klute is similar with what I had with The Long Goodbye. The twists were those that you could see coming from a mile away and there just wasn’t enough substance in the storyline to warrent a two hour run time. There is no denying that Pakula was able to craft some fantastic moods during the film, or that there were sequences where you could feel palpable tension.

Honestly, I think that if Klute had been made to a 90-100 minute run time things the film wouldn’t have felt (at times) simultaneously empty and bloated when it comes to the narrative. As it stands, the film lacks coherence in favour touching upon a lot of  disparate themes and trying to be a bit edgy.

Shame, as Fonda really does hit it out of the park here. Bree isn’t an archetype, she’s a complex and well-realised character who happens to make her money as a high class call girl. That is revolutionary enough without trying to shoehorn all the 1970s paranoia in after it. Oh well, at least I got to see Fonda at the height of her powers.

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