Drama · Film Noir · Mystery · Thriller

Entry #8- Chinatown (1974)


First off, I would like to say it’s good to be back. I’ve been away for too long and it’s great that I finally have the time to add a new entry to filmstoseebeforeyoudie. Let’s get started.

Rating: R

Director: Roman Polanski

Stars: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston

Quote from film: “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”–Walsh, played by Joe Mantell.

Story/Plot Summary: Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is a private investigator who usually works cases that center around married couples. One day, Gittes arrives at his office and is asked by a Mrs. Mulwray to keep an eye on her  husband, Hollis Mulwray, who she believes is having an affair with a younger woman. Hollis is a important figure in the Los Angeles area as he is the chief engineer for the Los Angeles  Department of Water and Power. Gittes follows Mulwray around Los Angeles to areas where water is being dumped and then Gittes catches Mulwray with a younger woman and snaps photographs of the two together. After the photos are published in the newspapers, the real Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) happens to show up in Jake’s office and threatens to sue Jake for the photographs. Jake decides to interview Hollis on why the city is dumping fresh water into the ocean. Jake receives a tip that Hollis may be at a reservoir, but finds the police instead. Hollis has been found dead and it apparently looks as if he has drowned. The real Mrs. Mulwray decides to hire Jake to investigate into her husband’s death. Jake looks into the case and discovers many truths hidden by Mrs. Mulwray that are surprising revelations that will lead to a shocking conclusion.

Why you should see before you die: Chinatown is considered to be one of the greatest films of all time. Chinatown could arguably be the best film noir  movie ever made. Roman Polanski and writer Robert Towne craft a wonderful story of a tortured noir hero, Gittes, who goes from working matrimonal cases to a full-blown murder case. The plot is a slow build up, but satisfying as more dark details come to light in the film.  Now, I’m not going to give any spoilers as if I did, it would probably ruin the experience of watching the film. But as you gradually watch the film, the story will leave you satisfied. Polanski did a fantastic job of directing as he gives you a sense of thrill and suspense such as the scene where Jake is investigating at the water department and two workers of  the water department (one of which is played by Polanski) catches him and cuts his nose due to him being…well, nosy. All actor portrayals are magnificent and Jack Nicholson does great as the tormented hero of the story as he does great as an investigator. Chinatown is also very influential to other mediums. The film influenced Rockstar Games’ L.A. Noire, which is a crime video game that shares similarities to Chinatown, such as doing interrogations and searching for clues. Chinatown is a film not to miss as it will make you realize that some things are not always as they seem. The clip I leave you with is a the clip of where Jake has been spotted by two workers of the water department. Polanski is in this part as a cameo and happens to teach Jake a lesson on being nosy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y2y-Tkn7eg                                     (Nosy Fella)


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