Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Movie is called Klute but it's all about Bree

Cleveland Press June 25, 1971

"Klute" is a murder mystery although you have to get well into the movie before you or anyone else knows there's a murder. Even the mystery is rather played down as producer-director Alan J. Pakula obviously strived for many other things.

The title role refers to Donald Sutherland, a small town cop whose friend has disappeared. Police and FBI produce obscene letters that the missing man had mailed to a New York call girl although the man supposedly was happily married and above reproach.

The missing man is wealthy and his family hires Klute to find him after the police and the FBI have failed.

Klute heads for New York City and tracks down the high priced call girl (Jane Fonda), the only big city link to the missing man.

THE MOVIE is really about her, not Klute. She goes by the unlikely first name of Bree and while she earns her way as a call girl she also is a sometimes model and is studying acting.

But she likes being a call girl most of all, she tells her psychiatrist, because she is in control of the situation and is really acting all the time she is working or whatever. Physically the whole thing means nothing to her she explains.

Klute tries to question Bree, gets the door slammed in his face, but living in an apartment below taps her phone. He keeps trying and it is fear that finally causes her to cooperate since a mysterious someone is lurking on the roof above her skylight apartment.

THERE IS AN ambiguous trail that leads to other prostitutes as Klute tries to find a man who gets his kicks by beating up women and who may or may not be the missing man.

Director Pakula seems less concerned with his story than with his characters who are mostly complex. The complexities of the Jane Fonda character come through best of all partly because it is the most fully developed role in the movie and partly because Miss Fonda manages to suggest the uncertainties that lie beneath her aggressiveness.

Sutherland is least successful, turning in a performance that is played on one note all the way through.

THERE ARE SOME well done bit parts that also suggest complex people not the least of which is a pathological killer who keeps a tape recorder going as he doe his thing.

The whole movie is self-consciously artsy with long periods of silence, carefully composed camera setups that I guess are supposed to suggest remoteness and alienation.

Not unexpectedly there develops a relationship between Klute and Bree which sends her running back to her psychiatrist.

The picture's climax is contrived which should prove to be no surprise since so is everything else in the movie.