American Gigolo

Director: Paul Schrader
Year Released: 1980
Rating: 1.0

Paul Schrader's obsession with amorality pops up again in American Gigolo, a movie most of the movie-going audience can't seem to figure out if they love or hate (a lot of critics know what they think of it). Frankly, I'm not sure what it's about, really - all attempts at depth and meaning are cut away from in favor of some vacuous murder plot/conspiracy Schrader seems needlessly hung up on. Nary a scene goes by when you feel like he's forgotten to put something more in there - like much better dialogue (what's there is atrocious) or revealing different character complexities. As to why everyone is trying to set up male gigolo Gere for killing some kinky woman is never clear, though the end does illuminate it somewhat - angry, ugly homosexual African-American secretly despises calm, pretty boy heterosexual white boy and subsequently takes out buried aggressions on him (if anyone has anything better, let me know). Some scenes are so over-directed and the 'actors' so stiff I wondered if Paul put little X's on the floor to indicate where everyone is to stand. This is the role Gere was made for, though: wooden, cocky, confident, not having to show a wide emotional range (aside from smashing vases in his all-too-neat apartment) while Hutton seems content to be the deer-caught-in-the-headlights (who says things like "I always want to fuck you" like she's ordering the chicken salad at a diner). At least it looks good, though: the shading and color schemes add to the ambience.