Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Chinatown (1974) - ★★★★★

Director: Roman Polanski
Writers: Robert Towne,
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Jerry Lopez

This is one of the greatest mystery/thrillers I've ever seen. It hooks you from start to finish without an ounce of boredom in between. I loved this film so much, I won't even hesitate to say that it should have won Best Picture in 1974. I consider this to be Polanski's greatest film to date, and one of the all time greatest movies.

The story follows Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson), a private detective who specializes in matrimonial cases. He is hired by Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway), when she suspects that her husband, the builder of the city's water supply system, is having an affair. Gittes photographs him with a young girl but in the ensuing scandal, he finds out that 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.

Let me just say that the story is absolutely enthralling. The suspence is built up superbly when we see Mr. Mulwray acting suspiciously, visiting all the water site areas and reflecting on his thoughts. Then a few days later, he's dead. The mystery was already implanted deep into my mind, and I found myself constantly trying to solve it. The most incredible thing about this film is that this is a story that I don't think anyone could have solved. There is no doubt in my mind that the twist in this film had many people flabbergasted and in disbelief. I must admit that I couldn't believe it myself. For me, the most genius part of the whole film was the ending. Now this film has an ending that left me shocked and also joyous, for it was so unexpected. I couldn't believe it. That is the greatest thing about Chinatown, it continued to surprise me until the very end.

Nicholson was amazing in this film, as he is in so many others. He plays his usual character, which is rough, cheeky, and intelligent. I found myself liking this Jake Gittes, for he wanted to solve a mystery that did not concern him, no matter how dangerous it was. There was something about Dunaway's character that had me thinking more and more about whether she was mentally stable. A lot of messed up things happened in her past, yet she came across so calm and cool for much of the film. Towards the end she began to unravel, and the secrets were coming out. It was absolutely beautiful to see Dunaway display how a person's sanity can be cracked so swiftly. Nicholson and Dunaway had great chemistry, which made this film so much more enjoyable.

So what's the verdict? I think everyone should see Chinatown. This is how a mystery film should be made! This is how a thriller film should make audience's feel! With one of the greatest story's ever on film, superb performances and unforgettable dialogue, Chinatown deserves to be known as one of the greatest films of all time.

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