Chinatown (1974) film thoughts… I’m starting off this event with a famous neo-noir film by Roman Polanski. A big film at the time, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, Chinatown brings all the tropes of the Film Noir style and updates it a bit. Nicholson, plays Jake Gittes, an Los Angeles private investigator with a pretty thriving business, with a full office and team of people to assist. One day, a woman comes in to hire him to get proof of her husband’s adultery. Soon after he takes over the case and get the proof, he finds out the woman was a fake after the real wife comes in. More problems ensue for Jake, as others enter the picture, all circling around a deal to provide water to farm lands in the LA area. As he investigates further…the hole he is digging for himself gets deeper and deeper.

I have always wanted to see this film because it was one of the Polanski’s I haven’t got to. Now I am not a huge Jack Nicholson fan, but he is very good in his role which has him in every scene of the film. It’s a complex plot and at a running time over 2 hours, I did find myself losing interest. Something about early 1970’s Hollywood films rubs me the wrong way, they always appear dated, even though in this case it’s lavishly set in the 1940’s. I really tried to get my head into it fully. I can see why this is considered a “classic” film, I just couldn’t get past the look and some of the long scenes which Jake is trailing people throughout the outskirts of L.A. and the stagey dialogue scenes.

Maybe some of you have a better take on this one. I would recommend a viewing if you haven’t seen it and am glad I finally was able to see it.



2 thoughts on “COEURS NOIRS Day 1: Chinatown (1974)

  1. I LOVE this film!! Polanski puts so much sheer beauty and atmosphere into it, making it not only an engaging story, but a perfect, loving tribute to the classic noirs of the 1940s.


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