Chinatown

This film has a couple of uses of strong bad language and strong violence.

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Chinatown Rating: 15 16+

4.5000 out of 5 4 Votes (Members)
Duration
125 mins
Year
1974
Director(s)
Cast

Blessed with a script that would-be screenwriters hold up as probably the finest Hollywood has ever produced, this 1930s-set masterpiece still has a profound influence on the whole of the film noir/detective-movie genre. Jake Gittes (played by Jack Nicholson in what many people regard as his signature role) is a Los Angeles private investigator who specialises in cases of adultery. However, after he is hired to shadow the water commissioner for LA, he finds himself being dragged down into a world of murder, high-level corruption and dark family secrets. Fantastic performances from Faye Dunaway as aloof femme fatale Evelyn Mulwray and a superbly sinister John Huston as her father Noah Cross complete the package for a film that leaves a deep impression.

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Reviews

Viewing 1-6 of 7 Reviews

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  • silva, 18

    5 out of 5
    By
    silva, 18
    Date
    2013-11-09 18:18:24

    Robert Townes scripts probably the finest ever screenplay to emerge from Hollywood, once again reaffirming America’s choke hold on the summit of film. An unforgettable narrative achievement that gives us something different every time we have the pleasure of sitting down and re-watch Roman Polanski’s (Rosemary’s Baby) seminal noir pastiche to the 30’s made popular by the like of the Maltese Falcon, but still in its own rights; Polanski architects a detective film masterpiece. It was even placed 3rd greatest screenplay of all time, by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) amongst such titles as Casablanca, The Godfather and Anne Hall, which arguably I feel is the greatest of them all. Starring Jack Nicholson in what I believe to be a career defining performance, even surpassing his Oscar winning exploits with One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and even his ever chilling performance in The Shining.
    Chinatown starts off as just another mundane detective TV drama, as a distraught wife; appear in Jake Gittes office requesting a private eye to solidify her suspicions of her husband’s infidelity.

    But just like in life, nothing is ever what it seems, and just like life, Chinatown is as unpredictable as the English weather, as from that moment in the office, we suddenly swept up in a whirlwind of excitement, tensions, laughs and shocks; as we find ourselves in a ever engulfing circle, consisting of millionaire corruption, murder, sheep, farmers. But when you thought that was it we sprinkled in some incest and water scandals for good measure. As we are placed side by side with Jake on his roller coaster ride through kicks to the head, cuts to the nose and a steamy love affair with a woman Fane Dunaway also from Bonnie and Clyde) who may just be the key to his eventual downfall, helping in laying down the foundation to one of the most ironic ends in film history.

    They said Michelangelo had a hard time painting the sixteenth carpel in a lifetime; imagine trying to keep a piece of art like Chinatown in a review of 500 words or less, now that is a miracle. Because Chinatown is a magnificent cinematic and technical achievement that may never again be rivalled in American cinema. The film is so good, I feel that it should be compulsive watching in all film schools for all young writers and directors with dreams of a career in the film – actually better yet forget film school, just sit at home and watch Chinatown, that’s the only film education you really need. So don't be a feel, stay out of school and watch Chinatown.

  • James, 16

    5 out of 5
    By
    James, 16
    Date
    2013-09-16 22:14:03

    Chinatown is a crime mystery film directed by the legendary Roman Polanski. The plot centers around private detective JJ Gites (a brilliant Jack Nicholson) attempting to solve a simple case of adultery that draws him further into the bleak underworld of 1930's Los Angeles.
    In short, the films a masterpiece. The compelling performances, brilliant direction and a masterful script
    combine to create one of the finest movies of the 1970's. The atmosphere is palpable, and the complex plot is paced perfectly, with every twist and turn perfectly realized. The film is filled with wonderful period detail that brilliantly evokes 30'S LA in all of its depraved glory.
    The element that stuck with me the most is the brilliant ending, its shocking, daring and will stay with long after the final credits have rolled. This movie is a much watch for any movie-lover, as long as you have the stomach for some of the darker elements of the plot, this film will blow you away.

  • Mr Botevyle

    5 out of 5
    By
    Mr Botevyle
    Date
    2012-03-14 22:43:03

    Many would consider ‘Chinatown’ as one of the greatest movies ever made and they would certainly not be unjustified in saying so. Jack Nicholson is here in his early years as an actor, before his more eccentric performances (The Shining, The Departed, and Batman), and he is once again on top form here this time as private investigator, Jake Gittes, solving a case of adultery which throughout his investigation turns into a case of murder. The directing and writing by Roman Polanski and Robert Towne is superb in creating a story of mystery and suspense with plot twists and discoveries in Jake's investigation constantly being brought to the surface as the narrative progresses, throwing the audience in every direction. Being one of the first Neo-Noirs and also a Noir in colour, the film is perfect at reflecting the sense of pessimism and depression in 1940’s Los Angeles which is supported with the quote at the climax of the film “Forget it Jake; Its Chinatown” and through this the tone and style of the film are instantly set and redefined for the new era of Noir. Towne’s writing is constantly subtly hinting towards further mystery and different roots for the investigation to travel down which leaves the audience stuck on the edge and constantly questioning where the investigation will lead them next. It is also interesting to note how within a dry Los Angeles which is suffering with drought, the main source of problems and murder is water itself. Overall, ‘Chinatown’ is certainly one of the greatest films you will witness and deserves priority on everyones filmic bucket list.

  • Neil, 15

    5 out of 5
    By
    Neil, 15
    Date
    2011-05-13 22:53:02

    New Hollywood was a time from 1968-1981 when the big studios gave young directors huge amounts of money told them to do what they liked without any control. In effect the lunatics ran the asylum and in their lunacy created classics such as "The Godfather and Part II" (an offer you can't refuse),"Taxi Driver" (you talkin' to me?), "Dirty Harry" (are you feelin' lucky?) and of-course "Chinatown".

    The plot is a well thought out and intelligent, not only in its cleverness but its realism being a logical story of financial corruption rather than what some call "sexier" plots about murder and drugs. This is brought to life by Roman Polanski's direction and Jack Nicholson's classic performance. This was before Jack played every role with an over-the-top attitude and a Cheshire Cat look that created his characters personalities without him even needing to speak. He is more tender and caring than the usual film-noir detective but slightly less mature and allows himself to be deceived by his love interest, Faye Dunaway, and eventually is drawn into a depraved and sick series of events leading to the shocking ending.

    There is a general consensus that Chinatown is one of Polanski's best films and I think its his masterpiece. If he hadn't committed that heinous crime of his in 1977, he could have been a true hero of the New Hollywood movement but we should just take character Lawrence Walsh's (Joe Mantell) advice on the subject "Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown."

  • Etty

    3 out of 5
    By
    Etty
    Date
    2010-10-21 13:13:09

    Not to everybody's taste

  • Lucas Who Is Legendary, 127

    5 out of 5
    By
    Lucas Who Is Legendary, 127
    Date
    2010-06-16 13:35:26

    Does it actually say CHINATOWN up there???

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