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American Gigolo 1980 ****

Paul Schrader’s 1980 film was seen as somewhat vacuous at the time, what with its proto-MTV stylings and Blondie songs on the soundtrack. Schrader’s star was rising on the back of his Taxi Driver script, but its arguable whether American Gigolo is a better film; gigolo Julian (Richard Gere) is a high-class prostitute, servicing rich women around the LA area, but his fancy-dan lifestyle comes crashing down when he’s involved in a murder-case. Gere underplays beautifully as Julian, and Schrader skillfully uses the male gigolo as a metaphor for modern life; keen to please everyone, Julian has little sense of himself, and finds the void where his personality should be makes him ripe for exploitation. American Gigolo is a thoughtful, prescient film that’s far more than just a vehicle for Gere’s sex appeal.

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