Chinatown ★★★★½

The surface pleasures are obviously there — from the score, to the snappy dialogue, to Nicholson’s performance, which is as fun to watch as any I can think of — but I love how quiet, deliberative, and detailed this is. It’s a rare studio film that gets to spend this kind of time on granular, unexciting detail — Zodiac and Zero Dark Thirty come to mind. If you step away from films like these for five minutes, you’re liable to miss something crucial, even if it might not be obvious in the moment. And the attention to detail in the narrative translates to the direction and the performances. There’s so many little touches, like the one scene where Gittes and Evelyn are driving, he tries to light a cigarette, and his lighter won’t work. He gets frustrated and gives up, starts to talk to her about the case, tries again, goes back into the case, then tries one more time before giving up for good. Everything about the movie just feels meticulously thought-out. The ending is just so great, no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

lol @ Cross calling him “Mr. Gitts” right til the end

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