Chinatown is a film set briefly in Chinatown Los Angeles. Surprisingly, most of the film actually takes place outside of Chinatown Los Angeles, mainly regular Los Angeles. Nevertheless, Chinatown is an American neo-noir directed by a Polish-French guy called Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby, The Pianist) and is often cited as featuring one of the greatest screenplays ever written.
However, being extremely tired when I watched this, I feel that I need another more alert watch before I can begin to appreciate the brilliance of Robert Towne’s writing. Instead what truly stunned me was the Mise en Scene. Everything from the production design to the lighting was perfect and set the period 1930’s Los Angeles beautifully. Although we never really get a wide picture of the city, it still manages to feel alive and busy.
Aside from that, everything else met my expectations. Jack Nicholson acted fantastically as he always does. The European direction helped to give a darker side to the American dream and finally the music helped to shape the mood of the film. It’s a masterpiece but I wish I had more to say.