Chinatown Film Analysis

Submitted By lucasdias121
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Reflection on Chinatown
Chinatown, a classical movie from the 1970’s directed by Roman Polanski, gives the viewer’s an opportunity to see a noir film revolutionized. A film that shared similar characteristics to other noir films, but had few modifications as well. According to Roger Ebert “This movie was not only very entertaining, but something I would have thought impossible”.( par.1) Although most of the scenes in color are during the day and outdoor, Polanski is able to provide a dark and shadow effect, of which is one of the elements of a noir movie. This film also makes the audience vulnerable to view the world in a way Polanski viewed it. A vision of a cruel world, consisting of political corruption, and human corruption. According to Murray Sperber, “Polanski is a true cynic and enjoys manipulating people”. (par. 16) Therefore he used many tactics to get the viewers to believe his ways of thinking. Lastly this movie was recognized as a masterpiece because of a dedicated actor, Jack Nicholson playing the character J.J Gittes. A role he played with such finesse, which made many experts acknowledge his work even more.
This movie takes place in Los Angeles, California in the 1930’s. J.J Gittes a private investigator gets hired by a shady woman who introduces herself as Evelyn Mulwray. He gets hired to do an adultery case involving her husband, but then finds out the woman who claimed to be Evelyn was really an imposter. The real Evelyn played by the actress Faye Dunaway finds out about Gittes involvement in the case, and threatens to sue him. Gittes then becomes intrigued to figure out why he was part of this scandal. Hollis Mulwray, Evelyn husband is part of a water business, and has an association with Noah Cross. Hollis is then found dead, and makes Gittes even more concern to know the truth. Throughout the movie Gittes unravels many mysteries amongst them finding out a corrupted water business in L.A, and Noah Cross played by John Huston involvement in this scandal. It’s also brought to Gittes attention that Noah is Evelyn father, and that he raped her leaving Evelyn with a child. Gittes tries to protect Evelyn from Noah, but fails to do so, and the movie ends with Evelyn death, and Noah being successful getting his daughter for himself. Polanski changed people perception of Noir film, but still managed to keep the genre with such perfection. An example was the first scene of the movie when Gittes was talking to the imposter in his office. You can tell the difference in the wardrobe of Gittes, and the imposter. Their clothing displays the traditional visual style of black and white. Another example is when Gittes shows the viewer’s black and white effects of Curl’s wife photographs having an affair. Polanski also breaks the custom of having a Femme Fatal by making Evelyn a good, and innocent person. James Berardinelli observes that “This movie may seem to be