Paul (Joseph) Schrader Richard Combs - Essay

Richard Combs

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

With American Gigolo, Paul Schrader seems to have found his footing as a director—and achieved a measure of distance from (might one say transcended?) his obsessions as a writer. Not that he has really relaxed his Calvinist grip on the plot mechanism: characters are stuffed willy-nilly down a determinist tunnel, and one feels a tortured Providence-as-dramatist—rather than any inner necessity or logic—behind their every move and utterance. The hero of American Gigolo is more fortunate than most in that he doesn't have to say very much, though there is one grotesque moment of 'naked' truth in which he stands undressed by a window—the barred lighting that falls across him will be repeated to more...

(The entire section is 622 words.)