Review: ‘American Gigolo’

A hot subject, cool style and overly contrived plotting don't all mesh in American Gigolo. Paul Schrader's third outing as a director is betrayed by a curious, uncharacteristic evasiveness at its core.

A hot subject, cool style and overly contrived plotting don’t all mesh in American Gigolo. Paul Schrader’s third outing as a director is betrayed by a curious, uncharacteristic evasiveness at its core.

Things begin to go awry, both for Richard Gere and the picture, when senator’s wife Lauren Hutton begins taking more than a passing interest in her man-for-hire and when a kinky sex murder is laid at his door. Gere’s character has been portrayed with such moral and emotional ambivalence, which makes caring about his predicament and ultimate fate difficult.

As with several of Schrader’s other scripts, this one charts the course of a loner, a solo driver navigating in a sea of sharks ready to eat him alive. Rarely offscreen, Gere is notably convincing in look and manner. Very lowkeyed, Hutton is not quite up to the difficult part of a woman-with-everything who throws it all over for her questionable lover.

American Gigolo

Production

Paramount. Director Paul Schrader; Producer Jerry Bruckheimer; Writer Paul Schrader; Camera John Bailey Editor Richard Halsey; Music Giorgio Moroder Art Fernando Scarfiotti

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1980. Running time: 117 MIN.

With

Richard Gere Lauren Hutton Hector Elizondo Nina Van Pallandt Bill Duke Brian Davies

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