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Chinatown
Year:
1974
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Mystery
IMDB rating:
8.3
Director:
Roman Polanski
Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes
Faye Dunaway as Evelyn Mulwray
John Huston as Noah Cross
Perry Lopez as Escobar
John Hillerman as Yelburton
Darrell Zwerling as Hollis Mulwray
Diane Ladd as Ida Sessions
Roy Jenson as Mulvihill
Roman Polanski as Man with Knife
Richard Bakalyan as Loach (as Dick Bakalyan)
Joe Mantell as Walsh
Bruce Glover as Duffy
Nandu Hinds as Sophie
James O'Rear as Lawyer
Storyline: 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.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
1080p 1920x816 px 8136 Mb h264 640 Kbps mkv Download
DVD-rip 640x272 px 1382 Mb mpeg4 448 Kbps mkv Download
Reviews
Another World
Spoilers herein.

Polanski is worth watching no matter what he does. Sometimes, the film is relatively free of context, like the nearly perfect `Ninth Gate.' But watching those take work because you have to cocreate the world.

Sometimes the film is set in the context of a genre where the metanarrative is about how it sets within the genre. `Rosemary's Baby' was great because it played with everything that came before, adding great portions of architectural evil and fey vulnerability.

Noir revolutionized film. The detective was our representative in the story, unravelling the order of the world. Noir turned that on its head, directly referencing what came before. The noir detective was still our avatar but was swept up in the world he was trying to understand. Everything happens TO him, not around him.

Now Polanski does a Welles and Nicholson does a Brando. Both are techniques of self-commentary at the same time as commenting on the genre. Both are both IN the films and OF film, but until `Chinatown' they had never been attempted at the same time. This film changed the world. Huston was along for the ride.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 4: Worth watching.
2003-02-19
Seventies film noir classic
What a gem from 1974. A film I had never heard of apart from its listing in Steven Schneider's 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

Directed by Roman Polanski and starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway it was made in the pre-blockbuster era and really shows the brilliance of the director rather than a few gimmicky CGI effects and laser beams!

The film noir genre is epitomised by films from the forties shot in black and white and sort of detective thrillers. Here we have a Technicolor film from 1974 revisiting the genre. The performance of Nicholson as private detective Jake Gittes is mesmerising and up there with his other great roles. Gittes is an ex-policeman who worked in the Chinatown district of Los Angeles. Now a private detective in 1930s LA. He becomes embroiled in the private life of the chief engineer of LA's water and power department. Hired by his so called wife at the films beginning he later discovers it wasn't actually who she claimed. Investigating further what turns out to be so called adultery actually becomes a murder, greed and intimidation case involving the local water supply!

The story could actually have been a screenplay for an episode of Murder, She Wrote but the performances of the cast and ultimately its direction by Polanski are wonderful to watch. It's the camera angles, the screenplay, photography that all come to the fore.

No doubt you will never have heard of it but I would highly recommended it over the modern multiplex trash.
2017-02-28
An incredibly rich film
Everybody's already commented on the ingenious screenplay and the amazing characters, acting, direction. I've only seen the wide-screen version, but I can't imagine that a formatted version would be able to retain the full beauty of this film. The film makes ample use of the whole screen and the film comes across remarkably refreshing all these years later. The use of sound is also very effective--whether it's a dripping faucet, the buzzing of insects or the endless other tiny details that have been crammed into Chinatown.
1999-04-17
The most perfect movie ever made
I've never given a movie 10 before. But I just watched Chinatown tonight for maybe the 20th time, and I think it is the most perfect movie ever made. In Polanski's masterpiece of disillusion, nothing and nobody is what they seem. Names are false, motives are false or never understood. Gittes, who at first seems like a sleazeball, is in fact a white knight seeking after truth. The cool blonde is anything but. Other film makers would pull close-ups on the clues that are dropped in plain view throughout the movie, but with Polanski, they are there but you just don't see them, any more than Gittes, until it all comes together at the end. A truly wonderful movie that only gets better with repeated viewing
2008-05-02
Forget It Jake; It's Chinatown.
Bolstered by strong performances from its leading cast, brilliant script by Robert Towne and taut direction by Roman Polanski, Chinatown is one of the best offerings of the mystery genre. Jack Nicholson stars as private detective, J J Gittes and gives a really composed performance and is literally present in every single scene in this film. Faye Dunaway as Evelyn Mulwray puts up another strong performance to go neck to neck with Nicholson's work. But the real star of this film is its script & direction as Polanski's steady work behind the camera & Towne's sturdy script are works of pure craftsmanship and carries no complains. An engaging drama promising a lot of surprises & uncertainty throughout its runtime which finally ends with a soul-shattering climax… that's Chinatown for you.
2013-09-09
A Bit Confusing But Always Fascinating
No sense going into a detailed review describing what this film is about because there are enough reviews already. I'll just say it took me several viewings to finally figure out what was going on. It's not an easy to story to follow. It's also unusual: a crime story dealing with rights to water. To many people, that's odd but water has always been a precious commodity in southern California.

There is nothing confusing about how this film looks. It's a treat for one's eyes, especially if you love that 1940s look, which I do. This movie just drips with Los Angeles film noir atmosphere: a rich-looking piece of cinema with great period detail.

What stands out in most people's memory of this film is another odd thing: a man's nose getting sliced. Here, it's Jack Nicholson getting a "nose job" courtesy of some thugs. Jack, playing "Jake Gittes," will forever be known (among wild roles) as the guy with a bandage on his nose, thanks to this movie. As interesting as he is, along with Faye Dunaway and the rest of the cast, I always get a kick out of seeing John Huston in here. I love the way he sounds and acts, and I'm sorry he had such a short role.

Overall, an always-fascinating film no matter how many times you watch it or how well you understand it.
2006-04-03
"You may think you know what you're dealing with, but believe me, you don't."
In 1937 Los Angeles, a grasping tycoon (John Huston) takes control of the city's water supply and causes a drought, while a private eye (Jack Nicholson) takes on a case involving the tycoon's daughter (Faye Dunaway), which entangles him in a major scandal.

Chinatown is a brilliant mystery, written with an astute sense of narrative architecture and played to the hilt by a terrific cast, including Nicholson, who has never done better work than his portrayal of the insouciant Jake Gittes. It's a rare thriller, one that addresses itself to serious moral and public policy issues while remaining gripping, exciting and finally heartbreaking. In 1991, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
2010-05-11
noir.
Polanksi's 'Chinatown' stands as one of the classics of 1970s American cinema, the last classic period in American cinema. It's a great reminder of how utterly engaging cinema can be without the special effects, flimsy plots and outrageous stunts of many major studio productions now, not evening mentioning the obvious marketing tie-ins.

The cinematography and screenplay could be considered almost economical in its minimalism as it is really the story, script and characters that drive this movie forward.

Chinatown tells the story a detective, confidently played by Jack Nicholson, who gets embroiled in an investigation involving the mysterious murder (suicide?) of the head of the Water Board. During the investigation, he gets involved with Evelyn Mulwray, the wife of the murdered man who appears to want to get to the bottom of the mystery but during the course of the movie demonstrates that she is not telling the whole story and has something to hide.

Everything in this movie works from already mentioned tight editing down to the costumes and sets.

Nuff said!

10/10
2004-10-03
Excellent film-noir
The first time I saw Chinatown I was bored out of my mind, and I fell asleep halfway through. I then woke up, two minutes before the movie ended, and thought that those two minutes were phenomenal.

When I watched this film again, I loved it, and since then, I have been praising this movie to everyone I speak to.

The film has Jack Nicholson in the main role, and he gives a fantastic performance - his best of all time if you ask me.

Our leading lady Faye D. gives a very nuanced performance, and John Huston portrays Noah Cross to perfection.

Roman Polanski directs the film, and does so brilliantly. The ending of the film is one of the most brilliantly written endings of all time, and also one of the best directed endings of all time. When the film concludes, you're left with a sinking feeling of hopelessness.

This is an excellent movie.
2015-06-18
One of the best film noir/homage films ever made!
"Chinatown" is so good, it's scary. Jack Nicholson is Jake Gittes, the iconic private eye hired to spy on the husband of a woman who suspects he is having an affair. What Jake soon uncovers is a vast conspiracy involving local tycoons and water - heading towards a great conclusion with a classic surprise ending.

"Chinatown" might not be the best film noir ever made but it is certainly one of the best. Like "Indiana Jones" it is a loving homage to its source - in this case movies of the 1930s, 40s and 50s such as "The Maltese Falcon" (most obviously!) and lesser-known film noirs such as "D.O.A." (which no one else I've seen so far has mentioned in comparison to this, but it does have its similarities).

Nicholson is absolutely superb in his role, playing Jake with all the touch panache of an instant classic anti-hero. This was certainly a movie of the 1970s, with its anti-hero being the guy we come to root for.

Robert Towne is a genius and I may seem to be giving "Chinatown" loads of fanboy praise but I can honestly say that I'm not obsessed with it in any way, in fact I've only seen it a few times. But it's just a really, really great movie that's perfect in just about every way - direction, acting, screen writing, cinematography, editing, sound...the list is endless. Polanski deserves as much praise as Towne I suppose, because his direction is flawless and very noir-ish. (If that's a suitable description.)

Overall, this is a classic - for good reason. After seeing this and "L.A. Confidential" within a few days I can say with confidence that "Chinatown" is much better, and will probably be more fondly remembered years from now.
2004-12-20
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