I didn't enjoy this film as much as the rating should seem to indicate. They make so many movies out in California with California settings and California people, and I don't relate to the West Coast thing. It's that laid back vibe that I hate. And all the phoniness. "Forget it, Jake" just typifies the whole attitude.
Brilliant screenplay from Robert Towne and stellar acting, Chinatown is by far Polanski´s best feature. Los Angeles is the perfect place for a neo-noir full of violence, corruption and incest. Between the smiles, the villas and the wealthy gentlemen, you will find a lot of dirt. Polanski´s controled and subtil direction is not spectacular but nontheless amazing. Andersen was right : L.A. plays itself.
This strange and appealing mixture of earnestness and play, of its almost realistic stretches and its use of gender tropes, added to detailed design and open (as opposed to definable) performances - Jack Nicholson has finally grown on me - and elegant camerawork makes this a quite compelling movie, idealistic and cynical at once, that seems to be quite happily free of the 'classic' aura of many movies of its time
4.5 stars. You don't need to separate the art from the artist here as Towne's, Alonzo's, Goldsmith's, Nicholson's and Dunaway's work is all so blisteringly good that, even without Polanski's craftmanship, they collaberatively produce a fine, fierce vision of corruption and the loss of hope and goodness.
As far as film noir homages go, "Chinatown" actually gets pretty close to feeling like the real deal, with its gritty and complex plot and often brilliant dialogue. However, I feel everything this film is praised for (even the parts I just mentioned) has been done better in other films, be it actual film noir or art-minded genre twists. There's just other films more mysterious, more exciting and more psychological.
Narrazione magistrale. Bello lo scontro fra il protagonista e la società corrotta. L'intera società è messa sotto accusa, con i ricchi che dominano la vita degli altri, all'oscuro di tutto. Personaggi ottimi, con una caratterizzazione invidiabile. Finale amarissimo che lascia con le stesse sensazioni del protagonista. La regia è tecnicamente perfetta, con scene sempre curate e ritmate divinamente. Dialoghi bellissimi
A real corker of noir sensibilities that tips its hat to its Chandler-esque antecedents but opens up in a way that earlier films could only hint at. It has a wonderful zig-zagging, staccato texture of half-finished sentences, interruptions and unexplained details that make up an almost complete jigsaw. The downbeat ending provides an appropriate coda. A stylish assemblage of decidedly unstylish elements.
3-4. A tidy, twisty mystery with a deliberately unsatisfying ending that's absolutely dripping with symbolism. Incidentally, a fair bit of the movie's meaning comes from its water symbolism (and that part of it is generally more resonant than the inescapable web of corruption). I do have issues with its approach, as far as driving home the evils of corruption (Faye Dunaway is a perpetual victim, for example).
I mean what can I really say? Dramatic films in this level of film making was fairly new in the time this came out and there were a lot of failures. However a failure is the furthest thing this movie can be. Its masterwork that stands today. Almost leaves you dumb founded on how art can make you feel a certain way for not just the greatly paced and long time span. But for every time you are reminded of the movie.