Monday, January 19, 2009

CHINATOWN (Roman Polanski, 1974, USA) Though the location of Chinatown is barely in the film at all, its “character” permeates the entire film with a feeling of unease and injustice. There was a time when Nicholson could act and he is perfect as private detective JJ Gittes who is sent on the biggest MacGuffin in cinema history: the plot is driven by Jake’s investigation into water rights but it’s really about a cruel child rapist who wants a little girl for his own sexual gratification…and he gets her. Polanski has directed some great films (THE TENANT, ROSEMARY'S BABY, THE PIANIST) but this is truly his masterpiece. The script is so tight with spring-wound pacing that it is taught in many film classes as one of the all-time great screenplays. The film cruelly ends with one of the greatest one-liners; it sums up all the frustration and injustice that unfortunately isn’t restricted to CHINATOWN. This was just recently re-released on DVD with much improved anamorphic image quality; don’t just queue this….buy it! (A+)

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