Movie Review: Chinatown (1974)


She shivers like the last leaf on a dying tree. I let her hear my footsteps. She only goes stiff for a moment. Oh wait… wrong noir movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Chinatown”.

J.J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is a private investigator specializing in adultery cases. So when he is hired by a woman to try to expose her husband, Gittes accidentally gets pulled into a complicated plot filled with corruption, murder, water and deception. And I have to say that I was genuinely invested in the plot. It has a great mystery to it with plenty of really good twists. So the overall story I would say is really good. However I do think that the pacing is a little slow at times, so I feel like I can’t appreciate the story as much as I should. Don’t get me wrong, I still really liked the plot and thought it was interesting, but since it felt a slow at times it maybe didn’t execute the plot perfectly.

The characters in this movie are multi-layered, colorful and interesting and it helps that we got some really good actors. I mean, Jack Nicholson… great as always, no questions asked. Faye Dunaway was also really good in the movie. John Huston also did a great job playing one of the more interesting characters, at least in the long run. I know that statement doesn’t make sense unless you’ve seen the movie, but trust me I do know what I am saying (I think). To be honest, I thought everyone did a great job in the movie, even director Roman Polanski who makes a cameo in the movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Jerry Goldsmith and I must say that I think he did a great job. The score is very moody and noir-y and almost a bit eery, kind of like the score to “Taxi Driver”. Sure, there is only about 31 minutes worth of music in this score, but those are some damn good 31 minutes.

Like I kind of stated earlier in the review, the movie was directed by Roman Polanski and he did a great job. The camera is very steady, even when there is a lot of movement going on. The camera movement is smooth and just gives the movie a great mood. Also, that nose-cutting scene… how the hell did they do that? That shit is just impressive. The movie is also pretty suspenseful at times, giving it a little bit of a haunting feel to it.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars and added it to his “Great Movies” list. And on it has a score of 8,3/10 and is ranked #122 on the “Top 250 list”. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Original Screenplay. It was also nominated for an additional 10 (Holy shit) Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (Nicholson), Best Actress (Dunaway), Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best set decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Film Editing and Best Original Score.

“Chinatown” has a lot going for it. An interesting plot, great acting, great music and great directing. However it is brought down a little bit by some slow scenes. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Chinatown” is a 9,21/10. It’s worth buying.
Worth buying

“Chinatown” is finally reviewed.

Are you alone?
Aren’t we all?



One thought on “Movie Review: Chinatown (1974)

  1. Good review of my favourite Polanski. It did take me a second viewing to fully appreciate this film and boy was I blown away by it.Chinatown is like a fine wine. It’s meant to be savoured!

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