Movie Review – Chinatown

Posted: October 2, 2013 in Movie Reviews
Tags: , , ,

Jack Nicholson is one guy who would make us sit up and watch his movie even if we are at our laziest best. I’ve been missing on Hollywood films for quite some time and I was shocked by the news that Jack Nicholson had decided to quit acting. And the reason for his decision was even more shocking. He said that he was forgetting his lines. Think of someone who said, “When you decide to be something, you can be it. That’s what they don’t tell you in the church. When I was your age they would say we can become cops, or criminals. Today, what I’m saying to you is this: when you’re facing a loaded gun, what’s the difference?” forgetting his lines. Thus obviously I was devastated. The only good thing to have happened out of this situation is that it made me watch Chinatown ahead of rest of the movies in the list.


I got to watch Jack Nicholson first up on screen and he blew me away as usual with his nonchalance in the initial few minutes itself. It made a great start to the movie. The first fifteen minutes was engaging and gave me fond memories of the start of my movie watching career. Those days with back to back Hitchcock movies were such pleasure. Technicolor, grey suits, loud makeup’s. It was a treat. But the mode broke off within few minutes. A series of events happened and lost track of the story. Even the screenplay became a lull after some time. I loved the way Nicholson notes the time every time he has to asses a situation. One clever trick it was.

Faye Dunaway was equally amazing as Evelyn Cross Mulwray. Not exactly a femme fatale but plays her part perfectly. It’d take a real courage to play one such character on screen during those days. Like any other Hitchcockian heroine she too was charmingly misleading. Most of the time she confuses us whether she wants to seduce JJ (Jack Nicholson) or really has interest on him.

Though the screenplay was a bit clichéd during in the middle of the movie the cross on his nose of Nicholson was highlight. It makes us laugh as well as makes us uncomfortable when he tries to remove the plaster. It works both as a pun as well as a sympathetic tool letting us know that he’s not master of the universe. I’m not sure whether this inspired Mr. Kamal Hassan to have that plaster on his head for Viswaroopam.

There were a lot of dues ex machina employed throughout the film. We don’t get what we see. We are surprised because we genuinely don’t know how things happened. And just when I thought that it’d going to be a normal detective movie paying tribute to yesteryear noirs. There comes a revelation and a totally unexpected climax. Of everything happened the climax was the most unexpected one. It goes right to the top of the lists of climaxes I like. I haven’t exactly made a list though.


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