- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Irony of Film's message
I always found it fascinating and ironic that none other than Roman Polanski ( taking into account his own conduct in real life.) created two of the most heart-wrenching movies ( Chinatown and Repulsion) about the devastating effects of childhood sexual abuse
Screenwriter Towne won the film's only Oscar for his masterful, complex and dark, noir-inspired film. A P.I. is in over his head when a murder leads him to a water tycoon. Nicholson won a Golden Globe for his performance as the detective, Dunaway was nominated for an Oscar as the mystery dame and Huston was nominated for a Golden Globe, as the film's cold, corrupt villain. Polanski's last American film shows that authority figures and the American dream is corrupt and how little Nicholson can do against evil; the look of '30's L.A. is perfectly realized. An unforgettable, complicated, well-crafted film. I give it a 5/5.
Not Film Noir
- David Duggan
Ephebophilia and incest are the main theme of this movie though it has been watered down (pun intended) by a murder mystery involving water. As the saying goes."Whiskey is for drinking but water for fighting over," or in most cases murdering for. But let's look at the claim that this movie is somehow Film noir. Film noir requires certain ingredients of which this film has only two. Bad guys and murder. But what it doesn't have is one, a main character that is strong and silent who only speaks when he has something to say. Jack Nicholson's Jake Gittes is neither strong or silent. And by strong I don't mean muscle bound but able to handle himself in a pinch. Nor is he silent. He is the whiniest character since Peter Lorre's Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon. He also loses to every bad guy and only manages to come out on top once. A Sam Spade he is not. The other ingredient it lacks is the Film noir Femme Fatale. Faye Dunaway's Evelyn Cross Mulwray is neither alluring or fatal to anyone but herself. Unlike other Femme Fatale's she has no strength of character and is unable to lure her protagonist into life threatening situations. Jake does that pretty much on his own. What does come out is the outstanding theme of victimizing and the continued victimizing of Evelyn Cross Mulwray by her father and by Jake who finds it convenient slap her around. And in the the end Evelyn doesn't protect her child as she should but only slightly grazes her pervert of a father instead of putting a bullet between his eyes. She then ends up getting her brains blown out by a police officer Jake should have decked long before the fatal shot is fired. Of course the father gets the now 15 year old girl so the cycle can continue. What I think this all amounts to is a Roman Polanski wet dream on celluloid with the victimizing of a 15 year old and the potential to keep on offending. Sound familiar. Let's blame it on the victim and the law. Not me. This movie get's a resounding thumbs down from me.
A parable of water, greed, and power
- D. J. Fone
Water: No enough, and you die of thirst. Too much, and you drown. We see both in "Chinatown", a great movie with a title that makes no sense until you see it. Jack Gittes, a former LAPD cop, has gone solo now, as a private detective in 1937 Los Angeles, where a drought has forced the city to put a ballot issue before the voters to build a huge reservoir and dam to provide drinking water for the massively-growing city.This issue sets the stage for massive corruption involving politicians, the Water and Power Commissioner, and an uber-evil, powerful millionaire (John Huston, as Noah Cross) whose money has bought every political figure in town and made Cross the criminal eminence grise. Two-thirds of the way through the movie, Jack Nicholson (as Jake Gittes), in bed with Faye Dunaway (as Evelyn Mulwray, the enigmatic widow of the drowned Water and Power Commissioner, who had declined to build the ballot-issue reservoir and dam, saying he "won't make the same mistake twice"), tells Dunaway he worked a cop beat in Chinatown where you were never sure, thanks to language and cultural barriers, whether you were helping to solve or abet a crime. Right about that time, Dunaway rolls from her side onto her back, her silk pillow pulling back her eyelids to provide an eerie, Oriental look to her eyes. Indeed, Gittes has no idea if he's helping Mrs. Mulwray, or pushing her deeper into complex hell created by her lecherous father, Noah Cross.While Cross was financing the politicians and thugs who stole water from the Owens Valley to feed their new land investments --- strong-armed from bankrupted farmers --- in the San Fernando Valley, essentially raping the land and taxpayers by proxy, he was raping Dunaway's Evelyn, literally, producing Evelyn's daughter/sister and Noah's granddaughter Katharine. The great real-life irony here is that Jack Nicholson was actually raised by a young woman he believed to be his sister...but who was actually his mother.
This Great Mystery Blockbuster on DVD!
- Jeffrey Kenison
My recommendation is have this movie on DVD. I like Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston. Plus, it was directed by Roman Polanski and it won an Academy Award for best original screenplay.
GREED CAUSES PROBLEMS WITH HUMANS
- william gauslow
Water, something we take for granted EVERY day, is the most valuable issue in our daily lives, and we don't even know it. We will wage war over water rights over the next century (or what left of it) to satisfy our blissful ignorance. I became a Jack Nicholson fan half way thru. Love this movie. Another example of a great movie people understand from a movie standpoint, but don't get the greater viewpoint. The U.S. Government filed this film in its vault (early) because of the great, yet ignored learning value of this movie. Perhaps to show future generations the failures of the present generations. If I didn't mention it before, this is a great movie. Americans still don't get it.I hope Roman Polanski is left alone to live his life without anymore vindictive incidents. Enough is enough.
- roger duncan
The great trumpet solos are by the #1 artist, Uan Racey...One of the nicest people in show business. My relative, Andy, got a lesson from Arturo Sandoval who asked with whom Andy had prior lessons and when he said "Uan" Arturo replied, "Well you have things to teach me, then." Uan was for many years first call trumpet and also 1st trumpet in the MGM Studio Orchestra. Roger in Coarsegold and an old friend of Uan.
the best movie of all time
part film noir part morality tail .. part mystery ... all genius ..........
THE BIG THREE
POLANSKI,NICHOLSON,AND HUSTON,WHAT MORE CAN ONE SAY ABOUT A MOVIE.THEY TEAM UP TO MAKE THIS THE MOST STUPENDOUS FILM OF ALL TIME.IT LIVES UP TO THE NAME CLASSIC.
The Best New Noir film
What else can be said? Few movies appeal to me the way this one does. The camera work is flawless. The acting is great. The music weaves a smoky snake-like trance around your ears, tossing you into chaos at its whims. There are so many moments in this movie that take me to that ultimate place. The magical place of being unable to escape the story, being drawn in, being hypnotized and spellbound....What else can be said, except for the last line of the movie......it's Chinatown.
- jon roberts
the opening trumpet is sublime and sets the tone for a great movie
A Flawless Film About Flawed People
- C. Anderson
A magnificent film in every way. Few detective stories are as beautifully written, acted or directed than this color "film noir" style masterpiece. A tale of corruption, murder and near unlimited power in mid-1930s Los Angeles. Using authentic costumes, makep, styles, set decoration and language, Polanski weaves an intricate tale of a deception into a perfect blend of drama, action and tension. Just when you think you have the story figured out, you will find twist after twist along with private eye, Jake Gittes. One of the "100 greatest films of the past century" according to the American Film Institute... and for very good reason!
Unique, compelling film noir
"Chinatown" has been my favorite movie for over 20 years. The story is complex, and requires your attention, but if you like detective movies and film noir, your efforts will be rewarded. Most film noirs are set in the rain and at night, but "Chinatown" breaks the mold: it's set in a drought, with a sun that burns white hot. Jack Nicholson's detective, J.J.(Jake) Gittes, is a likeable, plodding cynic. Faye Dunaway has a sad vulnerablity absent from most femmes fatale. John Huston plays one of the most repugnant screen villains of all time, but every part is meticulously cast; scene-stealers abound. Robert Towne's script and Roman Polanski's direction expertly guide us through layers of lies, deceit and corruption.