A 2021 Film Journey: Day 21

End of week three. If I’m being honest, this is probably twice as far as I thought I’d make it with this project. Every time before this that I tried to do any sort of regular movie writing I could make it about 10 days in before I’d miss one day, and it would all fall apart. I put a lot of the success on the more casual approach I’ve taken to writing for these posts. The casual approach is especially important on days like today when my anxiety and depression have been high and everything a challenge. Since I spent today in such a funk, I decided to put on a movie that numerous people have assured me I’d love.

Klute (1971, Dir. Alan J. Pakula)

Klute (1971) directed by Alan J. Pakula • Reviews, film + cast • Letterboxd

I was not lead astray, Klute was amazing. Despite being made 50 years ago at this point, the film feels wonderfully modern. Pakula makes numerous small decisions to elevate the neo-noir beyond any semblance of a basic crime drama. Scenes blend together and the usage of occasional voiceover obscure the films reality and build tension. This truly is a filmmaker’s film. It’s filled to the brim with smart directorial decisions the greatly enhance what could’ve been just another 70s gritty crime flick.

What I just said may not quite be fair. Even without Pakula’s wonderful direction, this film would not have been “just another 70s gritty crime flick” on the power of Jane Fonda’s performance alone. I actually know Fonda more for her protest work than her acting (though I have seen quite a bit of her acting as well), but her performance as the call girl Bree Daniels may very well be my new go-to image of her. She captures the brutally independent lifestyle with the insecurity and fear to portray the great depths of the character. It would have been all to easy to judge or demonize her character for her taboo profession, but Fonda’s Daniels loves the work. It’s something she’s good at and that she feels confidence doing unlike how she feels about her other passion, acting. It’s no surprise to me that this was the film that won Fonda her first Oscar. She is absolutely perfect in it.

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