American Gigolo

American Gigolo ★★★

The good: Giorgio Moroder, Paul Shrader's propensity toward the relationships between sex and violence, seeing Westwood Village look cool?! (honestly always strange to see my stomping grounds in older film, like seeing the Westfield Century City mall in Body Double) The diner where Julian is questioned isn't around anymore, but I could pinpoint EXACTLY where it would have been given the theater in the background (it's over by the Whole Foods on Weyburn). The photography and art direction are also great, I often like Richard Gere, I love the nods and calling back to Bresson and Godard.

The bad: Pretty much everything else. The chemistry, the lack of onscreen sex(?!?), weird character choices and story choices. Sex workers are regular people - they're capable of love. But the consistent draw that this and others (Pretty Woman) try to formulate the idea that specifically sex work prevents one from having other relationships, romantic or not, is preposterous. Here's a really interesting article about male escorts that offers a more nuanced take. I like and dislike Shrader - he's a great writer, he's good at what he does. However, when he moralizes or is given the chance to write about romantic sex or women....it's a no.