Chinatown - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Chinatown Reviews

Page 1 of 261
March 24, 2018
Lauded for it's yardstick screenplay and multi-layered storyline, Chinatown, for me, didn't quite live up to its hype. There's long sections of not much happening and I wasn't as invested in the mystery as I'd like to be. But Jack Nicholson gives an excellent performance that likely thrust him into fully-fledged leading man status. Faye Dunaway is admirably ambiguous, keeping us guessing about her motivation and true nature throughout. The screenplay succeeds because we learn all the clues as the main character does. Being shot entirely from his perspective, we're constantly in his state of mind. It might be a complicated tale, but we're given time to decipher it, and it never gets too much to handle. The ending is pretty abrupt but satisfyingly bleak, and the final line has become synonymous with leaving alone that which you can't change, regardless of how hard you try. I won't be watching it again anytime soon, but I'm glad I got to see what is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, even if I don't quite concur with the consensus.
February 18, 2018
(6 out of 6)- Last years of the fedora
When we see going places is what we do best when we are a private eye that keeps an eye on those who are going places they are not supposed to. When we see what places those go to get what they want to change places with others in whom we don't see they replace. When what we see in all places we place those those who hire us to uncover the truth. When what place we uncover what is transpiring in such places that the public eye don't want you to see is something more. When we see what place those are in when a crime is committed. When what places we go to get to other places we see what access gets us there when it's our place among law enforcement. When we see what place we are really amongst those who know us we see getting into places is what we have been known to do, to get into other places after when its trouble.

When we see what place those want to only get others to move from such places when they can make a profit. When we see what others don't see is what places we look for to uncover how they did it to know what places were not there as such details emerge. When we see getting in deeper in other places we know what place they put ahead when they don't accept other places entering to fit right in.

When we see others putting us in our place we see what such places hold to when its our silence. When we see what places we get in and out of when it's danger, love, crime when everyone puts everyone into place when they too need to get out of places they wish not be in. When we see what place those can put us in we see what place we belong when we are of some help.

When we see what is in place to see all the clues and details surface. When we see what places those end up when they are 2 places at once when those whom think they owe claim to such places they take what they want and put those in outside places they don't wish to be in. When what place we see money no longer matters when it's the truth and justice we seek when we see that we can't allow those to get away from such injustices to place them under arrest and responsible. When we don't see what such places will take us in the heat of passion, we see that those who are less invested in such places they wish to open and close they put ahead other places to do its job, the lawful place.

When we see what place we end up and others end up when such places we know we will never escape when such places takes a hold of us that we see no other way. When we don't see such places coming, to see that such places are already too late to take back when it's Chinatown. When we don't see what other places are no longer wanted when reaching to late or what is no longer relevant are lower places that higher places wish to put out so they could do their job.

When we don't see what our place in society means only to go places others don't get to go to know what is the right place the law should favor.
February 17, 2018
1001 movies to see before you die.
January 15, 2018
Chinatown still holds up as the defining neo-noir and one of the great films of all time. Direction and screenwriting are excellent. The plot is fairly complex but never confusing. Jack Nicholson is at his charismatic best; Faye Dunaway anchors a deeply cynical story with wisdom and pathos. Chinatown is in no way an uplifting film, but it manages to be engrossing, entertaining, and memorable.
½ January 11, 2018
Possibly the most overrated movie of the 70s. Either this or The Godfather.
½ January 6, 2018
Nicholson nuanced portrayal of a criminal investigator was refreshing and made the ending all the more impactful. Polanski is such a controversial man . . . but I tip my hat to him . . . All in all, it is disheartening to watch a film that still speaks volume in today's context where men of power are welding rights by passive citizens, the American Dream is an American Nightmare.
December 31, 2017
Puntaje Original: 6.5

Una historia intrigante pero simple.
½ December 24, 2017


[Roman Polanski]
½ December 17, 2017
A fantastically written, cynical and complex plot with surprising twists and turns, great directing from Polanski, and a magnetic performance from Nicholson as the main character make 'Chinatown' a riveting piece of entertainment that not only holds your attention all the way through, but does so with style. Add to that a gorgeous soundtrack from Jerry Goldsmith and you have yourself a masterpiece of the genre that was made at a time when this type of film was all but forgotten.
November 21, 2017
Some movies are impossible to remake like The Godfather or 12 Angry Man, this is one of them.
November 5, 2017

One of the few perfect movies ever made, atention to detail is the name of the game. Polanski and Nicholson at the top of their craft.
½ October 28, 2017
"Chinatown" is not the most beloved, best-known, or most remembered of the films, but ironically, it is one of the most important films of the 70's, "chinatown" is not a kind film, and it's not even the best movie of Polanski, but his narrative capacity is absurd, even to this day there is a maxim in entertainment that is not true, that all the stories have already been told, it is up to the interlocutor to tell them in different ways, and that is precisely what this movie does, inspired by the great noir films of the 1940s, it is not a novelty, and at the same time it is unlike anything we have seen, such as "the unforgivable" of '92 is the last great act of the western genre in cinema - even out of season, "chinatown" does the same thing with the noair genre. The great point that draws attention to "chinatown" is his script, he is completely magnificent, I would say, which is a complete synthesis of the perfection of how to script a movie, in 2 hours we have complete development of all the characters, we have a simple plot which gains layers of depth every minute, we have problems that mix with the city, turning into a political and social plot while bringing a classic story of a detective full of twists, who at one point surrenders to the cliché, but then surprises the all showing that in "chinatown" there are no spaces for the obvious. The film touches on such as love, police, ethics, society, organized crime, rape, nothing in a very deep way but also nothing is shallow, it gives the introduction to the theme, and the viewer who links the dots, alias, "chinatown" is a film that has to be seen and reviewed to be able to connect the points in a more satisfactory way, and to have a broad and complete notion of its history, which is not easy to understand in the first one visited during the film. With a great photo, extremely clear and brings new york life together with an assembly that joins the script to bring a great rhythm to the film, and a soundtrack that combines but is not marked in technical parts, the film has no much to criticize, is not perfect, but is not far behind the artistic part of the film, part that brings jack nicholson who is incredibly in a centered role, and alias, doing a great performance, and the stunning Faye Dunaway, who we love and hate her throughout the film, and she makes the whole story run around her, and she succeeds in behaving like the guiding thread of the script, interpreting many facets. Polanski and his artistic team did a fine job here, their film is not perfect, it's true, but it's a pity that it's not such a remembered movie, because the same is wonderful.
September 26, 2017
Trading slick for seedy and cool for cynical, this classic crime-drama film step by step is unraveled which forces involvement from the viewers, even if it kills. Roman Polanski directs with a feeling of voyeurism into the tangled web of corruption, while Jack Nicholson holds his own as the detective forced into the hole and finding his way through. Morals are challenged, and lies are told in this LA noir.
½ September 21, 2017
This American neo-noir mystery film certainly has its plot twists and turns. It features solid acting from the impressive cast, with Nicholson being the stand-out. Although there are a few slow periods, the desire to find out the ending will keep you interested. Considered to be one of the best movies of all time and one of the top three mystery movies of all time. AAN GGW 1001
September 17, 2017
an ok film where jack plays a detective
September 14, 2017
Following the private-eye, noir formula in some ways and cleverly subverting it in others, this film is a dazzling mixture of superb script, deft sure-footed, confident direction and truly great acting.
I don't think Nicholson has ever been better (which is really saying something). His performance is so brilliant that he lifts the performances of those around him, meaning that, even if you were on the look-out for the duff one amongst the great ones, you wouldn't find it.
There is absolutely nothing about this film that is not absolutely top-drawer. You come away from it feeling you really have seen one of the truly great pieces of American cinema, and there aren't many films that you can genuinely say that about.
August 31, 2017
Super Reviewer
August 30, 2017
In the 1970's a bunch of American filmmakers and actors were given a bunch of money and told to just go away and make movies. And that they did. The consistent results led to the 70's arguably being the best decade in cinema that America has ever produced. We were gifted such classics as Taxi Driver, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's, Mean Streets, The Godfathers and Dog Day Afternoon. Chinatown is another of those films that can be considered a classic among this elite list and one of a few from this era of filmmaking that time has been most kind to.

Plot: In 1937 Los Angeles, private detective JJ 'Jake' Gittes (Jack Nicholson) specialises in matrimonial/cheating spouse cases. When he is hired by Evelyn Mulwray who suspects her husband Hollis - a high-profile engineer - of having an affair, he gets on the case and produces photographs of him with a young girl. It soon transpires that Jake was hired by an impersonator and not the real Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway). When Hollis is found dead by drowning, Jake finds himself involved in a complex web of deceit involving murder, incest, and corruption that are all related to the city's water supply.

Opening with Jerry Goldsmith's seductive and evocative noir score, Chinatown establishes it's mood from the very opening credit sequence and a perfect introduction of what to expect. Paying homage to the traditional gumshoe approach of Humphrey Bogart's Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, Roman Polanski has a confident handle on Robert Towne's meticulously detailed screenplay. No sooner are we introduced to Private Investigator Jake Gittes as he surveys the sun-kissed lands of Los Angeles while applying the tricks of his trade to tail and investigate the latest of his infidelity cases. Like all good noir's, however, our doggedly determined P.I. soon stumbles onto something much bigger. In this case, the possibility of murder and the financial benefits of gentrification. As a result, Chinatown becomes a labyrinthine puzzle of a wider political spectrum that reaches far beyond anything expected and where nothing is quite as it seems.

It's apparent from the offset that Chinatown is an impeccably crafted film with a measured pace and an attention to detail that has rarely been matched. There's so much on display that it's obvious that the entire cast and crew are operating at the top of their game; Richard Sylbert's production design perfectly captures the look and feel for 1930's L.A. and it's complimented greatly with John A. Alonzo's sumptuous cinematography. It's the twists and turns of Towne's Oscar winning script that impress the most, though. He keeps us at arms length for the majority of the film and never forces his hand a minute too soon. Nothing is rushed here as it marvels in patience. Even the title of the movie is elusive and doesn't fully make sense until the film is given time to play out. In the meantime, Towne and Polanski tease with smidgens of information peppered throughout the narrative. For the first time viewer this could be a slight challenge but Chinatown has grown in its stature over the years because it's has replay value. In fact, it demands it. This is not a film that can be appreciated in one sitting but if invested in, it all comes together masterfully.

Even Jack Nicholson and his penchant for grandstanding is kept to a minimum. Nicholson keeps his usual histrionics at bay and although he displays flashes of his energetic approach to a character, his Jake Gittes is a far more reserved performance. Oscar nominated for his work, some still claim this to be Jack's best performance and it's not hard to see why.

An elusive masterpiece of mystery and intrigue. The beauty of Chinatown's narrative lies in the deceitful lies told by it's characters. So much of the dialogue and interactions are not what they seem and it maintains a sense of secrecy and mistrust that the story and film thrive on. At one point, John Huston's callous and calculated Noah Cross says... "You may believe you know what you're dealing with but you don't" - this quote, in itself, sums up the film which also has a knock-out reveal that you, simply, don't see coming.

It may be blasphemous to some (if not many) but my favourite of the sub-genre is still Curtis Hanson's L.A. Confidential. That said, Hanson's vision for that James Ellroy adaptation would, most likely, never have been possible had it not been for Chinatown leading the way in its style and composition. This is a timeless piece of cinema. Of course, the 1930's setting lends a hand but Chinatown hasn't aged in over 40 years which is a real testament to Polanski's approach to the material and the exemplary work by all involved.

Mark Walker
½ August 29, 2017
A great detective movie with a lot of suspense! Jack Nicholson gives an amazing performance as JJ Gitties and and rest of the cast does great as well! There are some sad parts in the movie that really stand out and it's a great movie!
August 27, 2017
A drama mystery masterpiece, Chinatown relishes in fine music with Jack Nicholson's performance as Detective Jake Gittes
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