Sakamoto Reviews’s review published on Letterboxd:
"You've got a nasty reputation, Mr. Gitts. I like that."
- Noah Cross
Chinatown is about a private eye who’s hired by Mrs. Mulwray to investigate the death of her husband, the director or of the Department of Water and Power, and uncovers a conspiracy behind it all both personal and professional.
Working with some rather uninteresting material the film effectively achieves the interest of a neo-noir mystery and the modern appeal of a 70’s movie for the time. I wouldn’t have had a problem if this was released in full B&W as the aesthetic definitely calls for it.
Acting is rather great all around the board. I thought I’ve seen it all from Jack Nicholson until I saw this movie. He’s very suave, calm and collected much unlike his other films. Faye Dunaway does a fine job as well, her role is one of somberness and in some ways she’s a bit of an enigma where you’re not entirely sure what angle she’s playing at.
Considering it’s called the perfect script I only have very few flaws with the screenplay. It’s kind of contrived that Jakes finds the same kid riding by the riverbank who has the information he needs at the same moment he’s investigating. How did the farmers know Mrs. Mulwray was Jakes employer?
An interesting watch, I never knew which direction the story was going to take and I feel that’s the epitome of a mystery noir of this style. The ending had me fucked up in the most understandable way as well. All of the clues are presented to you early on and it’s up to you, the viewer, as well as Jake to figure out what’s really going on here.