Callum Slade’s review published on Letterboxd:
Chinatown is an undoubted masterpiece, and an all time great. It is one of the very few films that can be described as ‘perfect’.
There is so many great things going on in Chinatown that it would be near impossible to do it justice in one simple review. Chinatown takes place in pre World War II Los Angeles, and private eye Jake Gittes, played by Jack Nicholson, gets wrapped up in a dark, complex mystery surrounding the death of Mr Mulwray, and comes in contact with Mrs Mulwray, played by Faye Dunaway while trying to get to the bottom of this case.
I described Chinatown as a perfect film as everything about it is faultless, the acting performances from Nicholson and Dunaway are spectacular, with the former showing more subtlety in his portrayal, instead of the psychotic characters which Nicholson can play so well. The screenplay is magnificent, which is so sharp and concise, and really contributes to the excellence of Chinatown, and deservedly won the academy award for best screenplay. The score is also worth a mention, as it fits with the noir genre and is hauntingly beautiful throughout this picture. The costume and set design are also perfect, which really captures the essence of the time period and Los Angeles setting. As I said, this film is perfect.
The overall themes of Chinatown are dark, as we come to see at the end. What I love about Chinatown is that it entices us in with all the conventional elements of a traditional noir, and as the story progresses, and we get more comfortable as an audience, the genre is completely turned on its head and the rug is taken from underneath us. It is masterfully done and deserves all the credit. Chinatown ends on a bleak note, and its underlying themes of corruption, power, money and injustice are all explored throughout the film and all link into an amazing crescendo of an ending, one of the best in film. Foreshadowing can also be seen throughout the film to warn us of the fait of the characters, which only adds to the subtle details and brilliance of this film. In conclusion, Chinatown is an all time great, and is one of the best films ever, that I cannot recomend enough!