“Chinatown” Review ✦✦✦✦✦

8 January, 2017

Year of Release: 1974
Director: Roman Polanski
Screenwriter: Robert Towne
Director of Photography: John A. Alonzo
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston

Synopsis: A routine job for a private detective turns sour after he realises he was hired by an impostor. Intrigued by the mystery surrounding the case, the man soon unearths a web of corruption revolving around the city’s water supply system.

Chinatown Review:

Like the finest whiskey freshly poured from the tip of an aged oak barrel, “Chinatown” is not too peaty, it’s not too fruity, and it rolls around your palette with a smoothness that only comes with age. Made to be unearthed like a box of old newspaper clippings, the film is arranged in a manner that reveals a fascinating tale from the past; a story comprised of deliberately confusing tip-offs and multifaceted characters who always lie before telling the truth.

While the drought-ridden landscape cracks under the heat of the beating sun, Roman Polanski obsesses over the many unpleasantries concealed behind the lavish lives of the dirty rich. Even though characters appear to be upstanding citizens on the surface, it isn’t long before the behind-closed-doors affairs of the most elite in society begin to spill out like the gallons of water wasted for the sake of political gain and Jake Gittes is first on call, like a bloodhound drawn to a scent.

Inadvertently out to expose California’s greediest water barons yet destined to fail due to the scope of their corruption, Gittes does what every good detective should do as he snoops around wherever he’s least welcome, turning his unfortunate and rather iconic nose injury into a blatant symbol of his prying profession. Neither a Bogart rip-off nor a caricature of himself, the breezy Jack Nicholson becomes the pillar of a great Film Noir, effortlessly delivering a roly-poly script that’s as much a homage to classic cinema as it is the basis of a new kind of filmic mastery.


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