1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish, sexy, and vulnerable
Gere is terrific in this somewhat unusual film. We love him as the ladies companion and as he pretends to be a flamboyantly gay decorator so as not to "out" his client AND as he works the room in search of new prey. His vulnerability to Lauren Hutton is obvious from their first meeting. Gere's character is interesting, intelligent, serious, and good at his job. He is...
Published on Nov. 21 2003 by Alicia Walker
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre crime story that helped launch Gere's career
This is one of two breakthrough films for Richard Gere. The other one was "Officer and a Gentleman", which cemented his status as a bankable star. This is also an early film for mega producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun, ConAir, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor). In this film, Gere plays Julian Kaye, a gigolo who services the sexual needs of...
Published on Feb. 6 2002 by flickjunkie
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish, sexy, and vulnerable,
Gere is terrific in this somewhat unusual film. We love him as the ladies companion and as he pretends to be a flamboyantly gay decorator so as not to "out" his client AND as he works the room in search of new prey. His vulnerability to Lauren Hutton is obvious from their first meeting. Gere's character is interesting, intelligent, serious, and good at his job. He is also compassionate and polite. We leave the movie wanting to take him too! Great film!
4.0 out of 5 stars A flash back to the early 80's.,
As would FLASHDANCE, AMERICAN GIGOLO helped to set the tone for the nascent 80's, though not to the extent that the former movie ultimately would.Nevertheless, as we watch, we see that emerging decade called the 80's unfold. Clearly disco was on the way out and new wave was on the way in, as evidenced by the soundtrack and fashions of this film. Also, you will see portents of the Miami Vice look that would become all the rage five years later.AG probably represented the last bastion of promiscuity and homosexual activity that flourished free of the threat of AIDS. The disease, if it did exist in that day in age, was probably so obscure that it wasn't even discussed even among those in the medical community.AG is the story of Julian Kaye, played by a painfully young-looking Richard Gere, a high-priced male prostitute who services the older, wealthier women of Beverly Hills. Handsome, well-paid, sophisticated, and intelligent -- he is conversant in several languages -- he seems to live an enviable life of privilege and ease.He remains emotionally unattached to the women he comes in contact with until he catches the eye of a cool blonde named Michelle, played by Lauren Hutton. She appears to be his equal in every way, but there is a cloud of mystery that surrounds her that Julian can't quite fathom. They part, and he doesn't expect to see her again until she unexpectedly shows up at his apartment. They spend the night together and come to the conclusion that they are in love.Julian discovers Michelle is the wife of a prominent Senator shortly after he's asked to fill in for a fellow prostitute's gig. The assignment is to pleasure the wife of a million-dollar businessman. To Julian's horror, he reads of this woman's murder a few days later in the paper. His pampered existence is tainted by this tragedy. As his and Michelle's clandestine love flourishes, he realizes that he's being framed for a murder he didn't commit. Who is doing this to him and why are reasons he can't figure out. In vain he tries to obtain an alibi from friends and acquaintances, only to have them withhold help. Then one is promised to him by Leon, a fellow prosititute, but he has his own reasons for vacillating which come to light later in the film. Michelle wants desperately to help him, but she has everything to lose and absolutely nothing to gain by providing an alibi.The plot takes a few twists and turns as the film comes to its surprising conclusion, but one thing that's never made clear, or perhaps I wasn't paying attention, is where exactly Julian was on the night of the murder. It's obvious that he's innocent, but where was he? He may have spent all or part of that night with the wealthy woman who, along with her husband, repudiates him, but I'm still not sure.
4.0 out of 5 stars Darkly comic thriller from Paul Schrader,
"American Gigolo" is high on my list of Guilty Pleasures. This 1980 thriller wallows in the troubles of the rich, the infamous and the decadent. Its main characters have too much money, which can be a good thing, and too much time on their hands, which can be a very bad thing. There is a sort of perverse pleasure in watching them sort through their various problems, most of which are indirectly of their own making. Writer-director Paul Schrader has always cast a cynical eye on human endeavors. Sometimes, his insights have been absolutely brilliant. [He wrote both " Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull".] But even when he is playing around, as in "American Gigolo", he creates for us an interesting world, which can also be repellant because we see a certain amount of truth in his characterizations.
Richard Gere is Julian Kaye, a very well paid [and apparently well educated] LA hustler. His specialty is wealthy, older women. Arrogant and self-assured, he has made his share of enemies in his shadowy world, especially among his pimps. Things get complicated for him when he falls for Michelle Stratton [Lauren Hutton], wife of a prominent political figure. But far worse is in store for him after a client is murdered and Julian becomes the number one suspect.
Giorgio Moroder contributes a lively musical score - very 80s. John Bailey's cinematography is first-rate. He captures the vanity and vulnerability of Julian right from the opening shots, for example.
This is one of those movies that has more detractors than admirers. To me, it is wildly entertaining in a dark comedy way. Its one big fault is a contrived happy ending, which is diametrically opposed to the tone of the rest of the movie.
4.0 out of 5 stars Put Your Brain on Hold and Look at the Pretty Pictures,
This early Paul Schrader effort is as slick--and vapid--as the city in which it's set, yet still strangely compelling after all these years. Richard Gere delivers his usual flat performance as the titular character, a walking billboard for all that's wrong with style over substance; here, though, his monotone facial expressions and speech actually work, as the character has the emotional range of his condo's designer furniture. Ironically, model-turned-actress Lauren Hutton delivers a surprisingly steady and honest performance as his love interest, despite having to utter lines that often barely rise above soap-opera level in quality. But the real star of the film is the production itself. The visual and aural model for what would become "Miami Vice," the film still seems modern, crisp, and glossy, even with the poofy hairdos, micro-shirt collars and tinny hatchback cars. The story is little more than fluff; Gere's Julian is framed for murder, and Hutton--the wife of a bigwig politico with much to lose if their affair is discovered--is his only alibi. In a half-hearted attempt to infuse some much-needed moral fiber, Schrader forces Julian to confront the many people he's wronged, as well as the empty but expensive lie that is his life, including hints at the character's bisexuality (controversial stuff in 1980). Despite Hector Elizondo's caricature performance as a Columbo-esque detective and the fact that the film celebrates being shallow as much as it condemns such behavior, it scores some hits, not the least of which is the breezy opening song by Blondie.
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre crime story that helped launch Gere's career,
This is one of two breakthrough films for Richard Gere. The other one was "Officer and a Gentleman", which cemented his status as a bankable star. This is also an early film for mega producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Flashdance, Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun, ConAir, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor). In this film, Gere plays Julian Kaye, a gigolo who services the sexual needs of wealthy older woman. One of his tricks gets murdered and suddenly all the evidence points to him. Of course, his alibi refuses to admit he was with her because it would be scandalous. The last half of the film is devoted to Julian trying to discover who is trying to frame him. Concurrent with this plot is the story of his love affair with Michelle Stratton (Lauren Hutton) the wife of a wealthy Senator.
The story isn't bad, but the dialogue is mindless and trashy, typified by Michelle's repeatedly begging for sex from Julian in the most profane and explicit terms. There aren't any surprises that aren't completely predictable, and the mystery of who is framing Julian is painfully obvious. The film features Blondie's hit "Call Me", but after hearing a couple of dozen Georgio Moroder variations on this theme on his synthesizer, it gets tiresome.
Gere's performance shows promise here and his generous nude scenes make this film a favorite among his female fans. Gere exudes a smart and sophisticated machismo in this film that would be his trademark for years to come. For Lauren Hutton, who was more famous as a Supermodel than an actor, this role is probably her most notable. She does an adequate job of playing the aristocratic wife with an untamed libido, but is in no danger of winning any acting awards.
This is an interesting film to watch from a historical perspective if you are a Gere fan, but it is by no means a classic. I rated it a 6/10. Weak writing hamstrings a decent story and keeps it from rising above mediocrity.
3.0 out of 5 stars "A thriller that pursuits purity",
It has been sufficiently praised the whole crew's work in Schrader's interesting thriller, not to mention the filmmaker's ability to deal with an expensive production (headed by recent Armaggedon's self proclaimed pop corn movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer.) It was all in the screenplay. Even though Schrader had made his directorial debut a couple of years before "American Gigolo", with "Blue Collar", his career had been catapulted by the happy writting experiences with "The Yakuza" (directed by Sidney Pollack) and, above all, "Taxi Driver", movies that dealt with characters that seek some form of redemption, particularly thoughout violence. This seems interesting when Schrader's biggest influence has been (along with Martin Scorsese) outcast french filmmaker Robert Bresson. In the fifties, this auteur was forced to manage sounds and acting in a totally different way as it was never before done in world cinema, avoiding theatrical performances and camera movements that could distract the audience from the stillness and the subtle vitality of the actors. (In fact, Bresson denied the use of the word "actor", and prefered "models". He said that, as a director, he wasn't interested in what the model could show, but in what he could hide, pretty much as in real life: we are always careful not to show all aspects of our personalities). Therefore, his work, that portrays so vividly that "inaccesibility" have stood the test of time. When Paul Schrader was a film critic, he lounged for a new kind of cinema that would express feelings with concern, honesty and craftamship. It was when he saw Bresson's film "Pickpocket" that, he confessed, he could not write about any other film. Bresson's movie narrates the misadventures of a would be burglar who uses his time and his energy in robbing people's money, putting it into practice as an art. In the story, there are also a girl and a policeman, and in the end, the main character ends in jail only to realise, in an unforgettable finale, that he has fallen in love. When "American Gigolo" was released it was no secret that Schrader had planned some sort of homage for his movie hero. Concessions were made of course, and the stylish production of the misadventures of a male prostitute, in a story that includes a policeman and a girl, were met by favorable reviews that took "American Gigolo" as "the portrait of a 'call boy' as a bressonian victim" and negative points of view as well. One of these critical reviews considered, not without justification, that the ending of "American Gigolo", which practically is the same of "Pickpocket", was redundant and vulgar. Schrader had made a thriller about an existencialist crisis, about the urge for a spiritual exit (simbolized by the unconditional love of the senator's wife for Richard Gere's character, Julian, who, by the way, is very convincingly acted) and, therefore, about the pursuit for purity. Beauty and purity are what the main character of "Pickpocket" looks for (in the strangest way: through crime), and ultimately finds it with unconditional love. But the final sequence in Schrader's film doesn't quite fit with Bresson's theme in "Pickpocket", where, due to the repetitive images, subtle performances, and strategic extracts of music, the final redemption throughout pure love goes right to the point. "American Gigolo", with its comercial looks, its performances (which are far from the austerity of Bresson),and one or two images of sexual abandon (between Julian and the senator's wife) which I find of very poor taste, sums an interesting display of hollywood professionalism that could have turned into a cheesy movie, if it wasn't for Schrader's genuine affection and enthusiasm for cinema, and Robert Bresson. If any of you is a fan of Schrader's movie, and gets a chance to see "Pickpocket", don't miss it. It's interesting to establish a comparison between the two movies, even more when "American Gigolo" is a worthly effort to watch.
4.0 out of 5 stars Armani=Emptiness,
By A Customer
Yet another harshly criticized film from Paul Schrader. Its themes of emotional emptiness trying to be filled with sex, money, and general material wealth, pretty much, summed up the decade that followed its release. It is the quintissential 80's movie.
Schrader was unjustly maligned by critics for the films pacing and flat acting from the films leads. The acting is shallow because the film is about empty people- Julien(Gere) turns on the charm in order to satisfy his ego, and not, as he says, to satisfy women. One gets the feeling, in the long takes when Julien is driving around in his Mercedes, that the smile on his face is because he likes being seen (it is a convertible, after all)and not because of some inner well being. The same can also be said for the pimps in the movie. Both of them behave as if Julien is the slickest, greatest guy alive and smother him with compliments, until, that is, he refuses to do them a favor. Once they dont get what they want, they quickly turn on him. One could even say that the ending echos this. Romantics would like to believe that Julien is redeemed by love, however, he, most likely, stays with the Senators wife because she is the only person who hasnt abandoned him. In his world, she is the only source left to fill his ego and provide him with his much needed alibi, and thats the only reason he doesnt reject her.
My only complaints- I feel that the time lapse device in the films conclusion doesnt work. It seems sudden and awkward compared to the rest of the films pacing, like the story has to tidy itself up to reach its end at the expense of the narrative. I felt that the film could have benifited from more scenes with Julien interacting with his clients. I guess Shrader and the studio wanted to gloss over the gigilo view and not have Gere in intimate scenes with ancient ladies. Instead we see him merely holding hands with them and getting intimate (two scenes) with only attractive and younger women. It feels like a pulled punch. Even though it would have made Julien less admirable to an audience, seeing him being intimate with withered and wrinkled widows would have felt true to the character and led to a better understanding of him. But, thats not the sort of thing Hollywood wants thier male leads doing.
Over time, Schrader is one of those directors whose harsher critics will be laughed at. I dont know of many other directors who get lashed for being "too Foriegn" in thier composition and pace. Without a doubt, he does get much of his style from French and Japanese directors, but only because his eye finds a kinship with them. His is not camerawork that feels in any way forced, like he is borrowing from someone else. Schrader always gets harped on, whereas, Scorsese, Coppola, Allen, and Jarmusch are heralded for borrowing from overseas. So, if you are going to brutally judge Schrader by his influences, then throw out Sam Raimi for looking too much like Leone and Hitchcock, Paul T. Anderson for looking like Scorsese, and you sure as Hell better sting up Spielberg, run him out of town, and bury him in the desert (oh, please do) because two-thirds of his vision is nothing more than a pale Kurosawa impersonation.
Hardcore, American Gigilo, Cat People, Comfort of Strangers, and Affliction are really great films that havent gotten the praise that they deserve, and Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters is nothing less than a perfect film, an absolute masterpiece. Thank you Mr. Schrader.
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard is BETTER Prostitute than Julia!!!,
Richard Gere is remarkable as a Male Prostitute in this gritty, but glamorous protrayal of a fella that's lookin' for love in all the naughty places!
I like the crime story element much more than the love story between Mr. Gere and Ms. Hutton...But mostly I like that a typically female role (especially in main-stream cinema) was played by a great leading male.
Recommend this as a Double Feature with Pretty Woman (although I'm not a fan of Pretty Woman for film sake...it's good to see Richard turn the tables on his life...Imagine it as a Prequel to Pretty Woman. It'll give the storyline a whole new spin!!)
5.0 out of 5 stars A vibrating and sexy thriller!,
By A Customer
I simply cannot understand why Leonard Maltin does not consider this a cult movie. For me, as for many other viewers, this is a vibrating thriller, full of memorable scenes. The smart photography, Giorgio Moroder's soundtrack, the sleek ambience and Gere's cool performance combine to provide us with an insight into the underground world of an expensive and fascinating male prostitute. I definitely recommend it, and hope it won't take long for it to be available in the DVD format!
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Drama,
By A Customer
This is an excellent film about a sleazy business in which the stakes are high and money is king. Gere gives us a close look at what type of lifestyle a gigolo lives and what he has to do to keep it. The settings and music are pretty good, but I especially liked the opening sequence in which Gere is driving down the coast in his SL Mercedes Benz and looking so sharp in his 80"s glasses (lol)
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American Gigolo by Paul Schrader (DVD - 2000)