Chinatown

Chinatown, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway is is a film that dwells off of the film noir movement of the 1940’s-1950’s even though it was released in 1974. The film was directed by the infamous Roman Polanski, and is considered by some to be one of the greatest movies ever made. I agree with that statement for numerous reasons, but mainly because close to 40 years later, it is still amazing and will continue to be a classic. Also because Polanski takes a genre/traits of yesteryear, and combines it with (at the time) modern filmmaking traits.
This film was also important because of its plot, which is existential to real events that took place in the 1920’s and 30’s in California pertaining to land and water rights. Film noir is such an ethralling genre with mystery and the shadows and dark contrast, but Chinatown doesnt follow these traits. Most film noir was set in black and white and used low-key lighting, which made it much easier to experiment with shadows and contrast, whereas when shooting in color it is much harder to do. But Polanski does an excellent job directing, as does Robert Towne with the screenplay for which he won an Academy Award for. Jack Nicholson is extraordinary in his role as private investigator Jake Gittes, and wears a band-aid over his nose throughout the last 1:30, which is often overlooked. To take an actor out of his or her element and portray a role as he did was amazing. I liken it to Janet Leigh in Psycho, in the famous shower scene in which the camera is focused on her eye and zooms out without her blinking. Absolutely amazing. But moreover, is the plot and screenplay which are just as amazing. Jake  unravels the coverup during a summer drought, and soon realizes that fresh water is being dumped into the ocean, as well as the woman who hired him to tail her husband wasn’t who she said she was, and Jake must  a)find out who really hired him and b)repair his reputation as a private eye. There are many motifs in Chinatown, as well as a cameo from Polanski himself in which he sticks a knife up the nose of  Nicholson, which results in the band-aid over his nose. Also, the name William Mulholland is actually that of the chief engineer of the L.A. dept. of Water and Power during the actual events in real life up until 1935, the year in which he died. right He was fired after the dam he inpected killed over 400 people in Santa Paula, California more than 80 years ago according, to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal journal.

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