Chinatown (1974)

Chinatown (1974 film)
Chinatown (1974 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The film that first reincarnated the detective-film noir, Roman Polanski’s magisterial movie is all about L.A., so it’s not shadowy and expressionistic—it’s blistered by July sunshine, and is no less affecting for the turnabout. One of the unarguable gems of the American canon, this film can and should be seen for a variety of reasons, but the glare-and-heat seasonal mood is particularly impressive, especially in view of how the hero—Jack Nicholson’s supercool private dick Jake Gittes—rather hedonistically spends his sweltering mid-days: hanging out and avoiding authority, kinda like a kid.

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