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Review of Paul Schrader's crime drama film, 'American Gigolo' (1980)

American Gigolo


"American Gigolo," was a 1980 crime drama that was directed by Paul Schrader. The film starred Richard Gere in the lead, Lauren Hutton, Hector Elizondo, Bill Duke, and Nina van Pallandt. The movie is about a young gigolo, who gets involved with a murder because of a couple that he had visited once.

"American Gigolo," tells the story of Julian Kaye, an escort to older richer women. He likes his job, because they keep him in material items like an expensive car, clothes, and so on. He's handsome, cocky, and doesn't think about real love until he meets Michelle. That's not the whole story in this movie though, you get an inside look of Julian's life. He likes to play two sides with feuding pimps, and likes his expensive high-life of living. That all changes when he gets in trouble with the police over a murder. His life starts to unravel.

Julian's character changes from meeting Michelle, he finally feels true love for a woman, and the murder changes him to a less confident person. He becomes frazzled. The movie did stop before we get to see a full change, but it's one of those ending where it's easy to figure out how it all turned out.

Richard Gere acted great as Julian. He was good at being self centered, but also you could see he was lonely. He had a sadness to him, but his job gave him all the materials and he needed that to survive. The whole thing from this movie is materialism, and what is the pursuit of happiness?

Lauren Hutton played the unhappy wife a politician, who immediately falls for Julian when she sees him at the restaurant. He pushes her away, but she follows him and can't live without out him. Julian intrigues her.

Danish singer and actress, Nina van Pallandt also was in the movie. She played one of the pimps of Julian. The other was played by, Bill Duke. Elizondo played the cop, that felt that he was 100% right that Julian was the murderer.

The acting is pretty decent, and the movie keeps you watching because of the whole murder mystery, and the budding romance between Julian and Michelle. For a film that is close to almost two hours, it had a good pacing. Pretty intriguing too, and Gere is a knockout.

The movie is flawed some, some scenes could have used a little more story in them. There are also some scenes that make the whole film feel dreamy, and surreal.

"American Gigolo," made Gere into really a megastar, and watching it you can see why. He gave such interesting and complex feel to his character. It's a gritty story, a story about sex, lies, and murder. Overall it's a 3 1/2 star flick. Was different than one expected, had more grit, and intrigue. It's not surprising coming from a director of such films as "Cat People," and the screenwriter of "Taxi Driver."

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