A private eye accepts a harmless snoop job and ends up in the
middle of a murder investigation connected to L.A.'s water supply.
Directed by Roman Polanski
Written by Robert Towne
Starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston,
Perry Lopez, John Hillerman, Diane Ladd, Roy Jenson,
Joe Mantell, Bruce Glover, James Hong, Darrell Zwerling
Oscar Wins - Best Original Screenplay
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson),
Best Actress (Faye Dunaway), Best Director, Best Art Direction,
Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score (Jerry Goldsmith)
Chinatown is considered by many to be one of the greatest films of all time, a label that is clearly not easy to achieve. This film has one of the best stories, the entire film being a throwback to the classic noir films of the 1930's. Jack Nicholson plays Jake Gittes, one of his best characters, with what I can only describe as silent rage. Gittes is so calm to the point where it's scary, making him a very interesting protagonist and a great focal point for the story.
What really sets this film apart from the rest is the brilliant script penned by Robert Towne. It's so brilliantly written that every twist and turn could be a red herring and nothing prepares you for the shocking final moments of this incredible drama. Gittes is drawn into a plot involving the L.A. water supply, but you quickly realize this is a rabbit hole much deeper than he originally thought. The more Gittes investigates, the more dark shit he uncovers about the vile Noah Cross (Huston) and his emotionally fractured daughter Evelyn (Dunaway, who I think steals the show). It's a film that takes about three watches to fully appreciate, but is so worth the effort.
Chinatown may be one that people would avoid these days because of the man who directed it. Roman Polanski, convicted and escaped rapist, does not define the movie. It's imperative to separate the men from their work when these things happen, otherwise we would never get to enjoy anything produced by the Weinsteins. Regardless, Chinatown is still a masterpiece, and it's a masterpiece that belongs to the masses, along with every other piece of art ever made.