Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chinatown (1974)

Director: Roman Polanski

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez, John Hillerman, Diane Ladd, Roman Polanski, Bruce Glover

More info: IMDb

Plot: JJ 'Jake' Gittes is a private detective who seems to specialize in matrimonial cases. He 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. When Mr. Mulwray is found dead, Jake is plunged into a complex web of deceit involving murder, incest and municipal corruption all related to the city's water supply.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah.

Though Jack Nicholson had done a lot of shit and a lot of shit acting throughout the 1960s (there were some good films in there, don't think I'm a hater), it wasn't until '68 with THE SHOOTING and then EASY RIDER (1969) did he really start to do some quality work. CHINATOWN was the film that really put him in the forefront as a leading actor and he's great in it. I've always enjoyed CHINATOWN but there's a little something missing for me that keeps it from being the masterpiece people cling to. I'm not sure what it is. The performances, writing (Robert Towne), direction, music (Jerry Goldsmith) are outstanding but it just doesn't quite make it to the 9 or 10/10 level...and I've seen it many times. Who knows. Maybe I'm flawed.

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