Six months after the disappearance of Tuscarora, PA businessman Tom Gruneman, his boss, Peter Cable, and his wife, Holly Gruneman, hire Tom's best friend, private detective John Klute to find out what happened to Tom, as the police have been unable to do so, and despite John having no expertise in missing persons cases. The only lead is a typewritten obscene letter Tom purportedly sent to Manhattan actress/model/call girl Bree Daniel, who admits to having received such letters from someone, and since having received several obscene telephone calls as well. The suggestion/belief is that Tom was one of Bree's past johns, although she has no recollection of him when shown his photograph. Bree tricking is more a compulsion than a financial need. In their initial encounters, John and Bree do whatever they can to exert their psychological dominance over the other, especially as Bree initially refused to even speak to him. Despite their less than friendly start, they embark on a personal ... Written by
This is without a doubt the most intensely atmospheric film I've ever seen, and certainly the best, tied perhaps only with Chinatown. Pakula's eye shows us the true grit and grime of the city that never sleeps. Klute was packaged as a suspense thriller, but it is so much more than that. It is also a character study (either of Bree herself, or the city itself). It is a love story. It is a study of urban stereotypes. And did I mention the music? The eerie scrapes, nervous marimba and fearsome humming will really creep you out, but the warm trumpets and delicate strings on the flipside are warm and enveloping. Anyway, back to the film. The slow scenes are equally crucial as the action scenes; the gorgeous sequence of Bree and John Klute shopping for oranges in the city market at night is a powerful statement that love can exist between opposites. Fonda's brilliantly improvised therapy scenes are explosive as they are heartrending. No actress, living or dead, can touch her. As the beautiful and confused Bree she is both vulnerable and in charge. The unraveling of her psyche is fascinating to watch, as is John Klute's repulsion and fascination with "the city folk". The final confrontation will disturb and haunt you for days. Bottom line, essential. No film will take you into its world quite like this one. They just don't make 'em like this anymore.
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