Written September 14, 2012
a true classic, well worth seeing. wish theatres in tucson would do more of this.
Written February 18, 2008
They really don't make them like this anymore. "Chinatown's" a classic L.A. film noir with Jack Nicholson in a breakout performance as weary, smart-guy private eye Jake Gittes. There are a lot of twists and turns in this tale of corruption, greed, power and a struggle for the city's soul and identity. Faye Dunaway is fantastic as the femme fatale who may or may not (ok, definitely is) hiding something, and look for esteemed director John Huston in an unforgettable extended cameo as Dunaway's laviscious, power-mad father. If you've seen more recent noir L.A. gems such as "L.A. Confidential" and "The Devil in a Blue Dress," and are wanting more, then you can do no better than this Roman Polanski flick. It literally seethes with subtext, great performances and a great story, gorgeous cinematography and a grand, classic noir score from legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith.
Written February 22, 2013
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Written November 21, 2014
Crime films tend to cast the largest spells on viewers who seek a compilation of many gritty, lurid, enthralling emotions and characters. "Chinatown" is one of the most highly praised films of all time. I couldn't tell you why. I must have looked at my clock ten times every thirty minutes to count down when this dry, low-energy crime film would end. Many film "experts" state that some of the greatest films of all time I will go as forth to say that this is one of the most wasted talent examples in cinematic history. The plot writer Robert Towne has created contains all the ingredients for a perfect neo-noir mind-bender. Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is a private detective who is hired by Evelyn Mulwray when she suspects her husband Hollis, builder of the city's water supply system, of having an affair. Gittes does what he does best and photographs him with a young girl but in the ensuing scandal, it seems he was hired by an impersonator and not the real Mrs. Mulwray. Jake is plunged into a complex web of deceit involving murder and municipal corruption all related to the city's water supply. If this film had strong energy we would be dazzled. Instead, Roman Polanski directs this in a very bland fashion. We get no soothing music to fit the setting that could have shined if we weren't stuck with minimalist costumes and production. There's a couple cool cars, that's it in terms of production design. Every actor barely locks into their characters. We get dragged out performances with out any spice. With so much mystery, deceit, and complexity, we would assume that being at the edge of our seats would be easy with this classic. Sadly you have to pay extremely close attention to absorb every tiny detail Polanski throws at you. It gets too confusing and not thrilling enough. There's nothing noir about it. All "Chinatown" does is show an early example of underachieving crime filmmaking with barely any focus on it's main idea- corruption.
Written May 22, 2010
Chinatown is like a seven course meal at a fine restaurant. Polanski serves it up in the slow, methodical manner of a great culinary chef. Leading us through the plot devised by Towne tempting us along for over two hours of a complicated story with visual treats, i.e; the deaths, the violence, the sarcasm that draws us toward Geddes a rather sleazy character wrapped in a nice suit. Nicholson berfor He became a characture of himself like Barrymorre did half way through his career.
A film like Chinatown is what happens when all the stars are aligned in the Filmakers Universe.