Jacob Martin (formally known as The Movie King)’s review published on Letterboxd:
Chinatown, a movie I've had on my radar for so, so long, I honestly have mixed emotions towards it. As much as I admire the craft and hard work put into this movie, including Roman Polanski's direction, the cinematography, and its dedication to replicating the craft of an old-school noir thriller but with the pizazz of New Hollywood filmmaking that made the 70s in cinema so unique, there's just something about this movie that didn't click with me.
I enjoyed the direction the story was taking and all the twists and turns, and the cast is great (mainly Jack Nicholson as the main detective role, Faye Dunaway as the femme-fetal, and John Huston in the powerful rich guy with secret agendas), but again, I just felt a lack of connection between what the story was trying to tell and the entertainment value. The movie is paced in such a way that even important dialogue sequences to me felt uneventful, and I really couldn't care with any of the characters that were involved in this crummy situation. Entertaining to watch, I guess, but considering how Polanski is viewed at today in contrast to some of the plot threads in this movie does come a little off-putting to me. I know I like to separate the art from the artist here, but the connections between John Huston's character and Roman Polanski is a little sickening and was hard to separate the two.
With that said, I get why this is a beloved film, and I'm glad for the fans that adore Chinatown. The finale especially is wicked as crap. But for me, I just couldn't get into because of my lack of interest in the characters and the themes that came from these characters. The craft and the filmmaking is admirable, but other than that, there's nothing much for me to get into.
I really hope this isn't like this when I eventually get to Polanski's other well-received classics, because I really want to give his movies a shot, regardless of how disturbing his private life truly is...