This exciting murder-mystery story serves as a fascinating study of the complex inner life of an attractive call girl. Jane Fonda plays Bree Daniel, an aspiring model and actress who seeks to define herself through analysis. Her psychiatrist (Vivian Nathan) is a quiet woman who probes Bree's sexual problems. In these analysis scenes, Jane Fonda expresses Bree's traumas with amazing authenticity.
Bree gets involved with Klute (Donald Sutherland), a small-town Pennsylvania policeman who is investigating the disappearance of a friend. The only evidence of his connection with Bree is the carbon of a letter he wrote to her. When Klute enters Bree's life, she cannot understand his warmth or small-town decency. Turning to him for help when a pathological killer destines her for murder, Bree gets her feelings of dependence and independence all mixed up. Before she can decide, the killer strikes and forces her to make several decisions about herself.
Jane Fonda is believable as the call girl and Sutherland plays Klute with a quiet intensity. The swift pace of New York City, its underworld of prostitution and drug addiction, and its discotheque scenes are all vividly lensed by cinematographer Gordon Willis. Director Alan Pakula's pacing of Klute is the only flaw in this otherwise excellent film.