Chinatown was a movie I saw in high school around 1am and didn’t really think much of it because I didn’t remember a lot of it. Especially years later. When I saw that it was on Netflix I really had to see it because I knew being older that I would probably like it a lot more. I honestly think that there are not too many movies better than this. What makes this movie great, really is the story. Story is absolutely everything and it’s kind of insane how people forget that. Please see this movie and love it as much as I do. It’s easily the best movie I have seen since Elizabeth and I have started this blog.
There’s obviously a lot of great things going on with Chinatown, but I think my favorite part might be the basic concept of it. It’s an intricate, compelling story about something boring. I mean, just take this line from the movie’s Wikipedia: “The film was inspired by the California Water Wars, a series of disputes over southern California water at the beginning of the 20th century by which Los Angeles interests secured water rights in the Owens Valley.” I mean, at least for me, that doesn’t sound like something I’d be super excited to see a movie about. But for a movie that deals so much with 40’s (I think)-era Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, it’s incredibly interesting and exciting.
I think Jack Nicholson usually plays at least a little bit of an asshole, and as Jake Gittes he still does, but there’s something different about him. Maybe it’s seeing little Roman Polanski slice off part of his nose, but there’s something weirdly vulnerable about Gittes. And it’s an interesting contrast to Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway), who also comes off as a bit of a badass/possible asshole until it’s revealed just how vulnerable she is, and how amazing it is that she’s able to even be anything as a person, much less a badass, after what she’s gone through.
As a writer, there are certain movies I can understand writing. Not to say that I think I could write them, but it’s like I can empathize with where the story has come from. That always really interests me, but Chinatown is in the opposite category, where I can’t remotely conceive of how one writes a story as layered as this. And that’s always even more interesting to me.