This ’70s Paranoid Thriller Is Also a Benchmark Detective Mystery

Some films arrive in cinemas poised to break serious ground.

Alan J.

Pakula’s Klute is one such film.

Elegant in its storytelling, smooth is its shot composition, and in essence, quintessentially cool, the crafty director’s second movie may be the finest detective thriller of its time.

Sensational genre flicks arrived before and after its 1971 release to be sure, but there’s something to be seriously said here for dialogue’s ability to punch as hard as, well, actual punches.

The script is searingly clever and the lines (especially Fonda’s) are delivered with such aplomb that Klute is rattling enough for its brute honesty and no-holds-barred witticism as it is for the fiendish mystery perpetrator the titular detective seeks to capture.

The plot of Klute moves like a taipan through the grass and while suitably captivating, it is as much a playground for its two fascinating key characters to demystify each other’s

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