Monday, April 29, 2013

Movie of the Week – Chinatown

This week’s movie: Chinatown (1974).

The private detective film is about J.J. Gittes, an investigator who takes on an adultery case. While snooping around, Gittes uncovers a grander scheme of murder that has something to do with water.

Chinatown is writer-director Roman Polanski’s greatest film – his career highlights include: Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby, The Tenant, Frantic, and The Pianist. Polanski works with a wonderful group on the film including composer Jerry Goldsmith (whose score is perfect for the tone), cinematographer John Alonzo, and production designer Richard Sylbert (who worked on many of the best films of New Hollywood, including: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Graduate, and Rosemary’s Baby).

The film stars Jack Nicholson, who gives one of his best performances (maybe only second to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), and co-stars Faye Dunaway and John Huston.

Chinatown was made after the boom of great film noir detective films of the 1940s and 1950s, but still carries many of the genre’s attributes – albeit with a modern aesthetic (which is one of the things that make the film great). It is on IMDb’s top 250, the 2012 Critics’ Poll Top 250, and AFI’s Top 100 films of all-time list, and yet it only won one Oscar (despite being nominated for eleven, including Best Picture). It is a must-see for fans of detective mysteries and those looking to be acquainted with the best films ever made.

Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Streaming

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