Kay: No, ma'am. We at the FBI do not have a sense of humor we're aware of. May we come in?
what is it about movies from the seventies and eighties like Eyes of Laura Mars and Klute?
it seems like there used to be some sort of Geneva Convention for the War of the Sexes. Like mirror images, Tommy Lee as the unhinged-but-pole-axed-by-love Detective John Neville, and Big D. as officer John Klute represent a whole man. whether he is half-shadowed by a psychotic alter-ego or principled and yet open to the subtler charms of Jane Fonda's guarded call-girl, Bree Daniels, this man has a line in the sand. he knows where right ends and wrong begins, and he feels any transgression.
compare the ladies. bree and laura, the hooker and the fashion photographer, they are women of their times, metamorphosing as the moment demands. they've found independence, but lost the compass they need to navigate in the world. what good is it?
alternately, they aspire to something. Laura Mars (the God of War!) sees an ugly world, and her photographs hold up a mirror to violent, visceral life, yet, when she falls in love with Neville, her ecstasy in their mutual discovery is expressed by the detective, and she repeats after him, acknowledging the truth of his words. she knows about the difference between good and evil, but she can't tell which is which, even when it is literally coloring all that she sees, as she is plagued by visions of murder. yet, when John articulates this feeling of discovered love, she immediately recognizes the truth in his words.
on the other hand, Bree Daniels is managing the ugliest realities of life rather brilliantly, while failing in her attempts to become an artist, or at least an artist's model. her weakness is her pride, which compels her to alternate between coldly seducing and repelling him, while Klute's strength of character allows him to recognize the yearning heart inside her bitter and nearly hollowed-out pro.
on the other side of the mirror, the John Neville, who lives inside the killer, loves Laura Mars enough to die himself, rather than let her be claimed by his dark side, a rampaging serial killer, who must destroy Laura, and Laura's transgressive art. ultimately, he can't let his possessing persona murder the woman he loves, and so he begs her to become the killer, and spare them both.
i know there's a feminist angle here that i'm missing but i can't tell you what it is right now. i think that we might have thrown the baby out with the bathwater somehow.
no one is allowed to be complex anymore, lest they sell their souls, or bring down their own ruination. maybe, like a Prime Directive, certain antiquated gender ideas might allow for better relations between our numerous factions, and still allow for women with brains, and men with hearts, and vice versa. a dearth of wise rules does not prove there can't be wise rules, after all, and anyway you have to know the rules to break them with style.
in a world with no rules, even though nothing is considered wrong, nothing seems to be quite right.