Chinatown

Chinatown Image
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 10 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 203 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Jack Nicholson is private-eye Jake Gittes, living off the murky moral climate of sunbaked, pre-war Southern California. Hired by a beautiful socialite to investigate her husband's extramarital affair, Gittes is swept into a maelstrom of double dealings and deadly deceits, uncovering a web ofJack Nicholson is private-eye Jake Gittes, living off the murky moral climate of sunbaked, pre-war Southern California. Hired by a beautiful socialite to investigate her husband's extramarital affair, Gittes is swept into a maelstrom of double dealings and deadly deceits, uncovering a web of personal and political scandals that come crashing together for one, unforgettable night in Chinatown. (Paramount) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. 100
    A nearly flawless example of movie composition, with close examination revealing how carefully it was put together. For those who take a less studious and more visceral approach to movie viewing, it's also worth noting that Chinatown is a superior thriller - one that will keep viewers involved and "in the moment" until the final, mournful scene has come to a conclusion.
  2. A wonderfully brooding, suspenseful revisitation of the land of film noir, Chinatown is not only one of the greatest detective films, but one of the most perfectly constructed of all films.
  3. 100
    But the greatness of Chinatown, unappreciated by my adolescent self, lies not in its cynical view of the California dream (that's too easy) but in its fatalistic, even tragic conception of America and indeed of human nature.
  4. 100
    [Nicholson's] performance is key in keeping Chinatown from becoming just a genre crime picture--that, and a Robert Towne screenplay that evokes an older Los Angeles, a small city in a large desert.
  5. 80
    In 1974 a director, a screenwriter, and a producer (Robert Evans, who for once deserves a few of the plaudits he's apportioned himself) could decide to beat a genre senseless and then dump it in the wilds of Greek tragedy. [Review of August 8, 2003 re-release]
  6. 80
    A bit abstract, though gorgeously shot (by John Alonzo) and cleverly plotted (by Robert Towne), Polanski's film suggests that the rules of the game are written in some strange, untranslatable language, and that everyone's an alien and, ultimately, a victim.
  7. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Gene Siskel
    63
    As much as I admire the work of both (Roman) Polanski and (Jack) Nicholson, I found Chinatown tedious from beginning to just before the end. [15 July 1974]

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. DaveC.
    Jan 7, 2006
    10
    How Polanksi went from this to mediocrity like the Pianist I'll never know I can't pick fault with this film, a genius script and How Polanksi went from this to mediocrity like the Pianist I'll never know I can't pick fault with this film, a genius script and skillful direction blend seamlessly into one of the greatest films of the 70s. There has seldom been a film of such incredible depth. Expand
  2. May 4, 2015
    10
    Ida Sessions: "Are you alone?"

    J.J. Gittes: "Isn't everybody?" The story to Chinatown is about a private detective, Jake Gittes, hired
    Ida Sessions: "Are you alone?"

    J.J. Gittes: "Isn't everybody?"

    The story to Chinatown is about a private detective, Jake Gittes, hired to investigate an adultery case, stumbles on the plot of a murder involving incest and the privatization of water through state and municipal corruption, land use and real estate. If he doesn't drop the case at once he faces threats of legal action, but he pursues it anyway, slowly uncovering a vast conspiracy.

    Some people may not know but I got a lot of things to do and those things are reviewing 8 Movies, three TV shows and two video games so basically that's why I'm a bit behind of the new releases. Then and now I have to take a little break or a day off from doing this because well I can be a bit tried of doing this, but I still have fun reviewing and I'm extremely proud to be talking about the great classics and the new films, TV shows and games that come out. Speaking of cult classics, Chinatown was on top of my list to watch next, because I heard nothing but amazing things about this movie and after watching it I can agree that this movie was outstanding.

    Jack Nicholson is now known as the single best actor of all time just like Daniel Day-Lewis, Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, and in this movie his talent dose shine in this movie. He played his so well that I actually didn't fully hate him because in the movie his character is kind of a A-hole but I didn't hate him, if a different director took the director chair and directed the movie differently then maybe I would have dislike him. Jack Nicholson did probably his 4th best performance that I've seen from him.

    The movie is filled with lines that I won't lie but the lines have stuck with me after the movie was over and I got to give the writers credit for that. The music in this movie has that smooth jazzy beat to it and that totally fitted the movie so well. The cinematography in this movie was shot beautifully and just perfection with it's open and normal shots.

    For problems I don't really have any problems to be honest. I didn't find a single thing that I dislike or bothered me, no wonder it's classic.
    Expand
  3. j30
    Jan 26, 2012
    10
    This neo-noir, old school movie rocks. The masterful Roman Polanski directs this powerhouse of a movie with Jack Nicholson and Faye DunawayThis neo-noir, old school movie rocks. The masterful Roman Polanski directs this powerhouse of a movie with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway are at their best. I can't recommend this movie enough. Expand
  4. Apr 18, 2015
    10
    This movie is perfect in every respect -- acting, directing, writing, costumes and music. It is perhaps Nicholson's best role. One of theThis movie is perfect in every respect -- acting, directing, writing, costumes and music. It is perhaps Nicholson's best role. One of the few where he does not scream or yell. (Although Cuckoo's Nest may be better, and he screams and yells alot there.) Expand
  5. camdenl
    Oct 9, 2005
    10
    The last stand of film noir.... in color.
  6. Jun 26, 2015
    9
    Feel sorry for Mr. Gittes! That ending though. Jack Nicholson alone is entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Chinatown is a 130 minutesFeel sorry for Mr. Gittes! That ending though. Jack Nicholson alone is entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Chinatown is a 130 minutes crime-mystery-drama which is worth watching. The movie is kinda slow and heavy but worth watching.
    What do you say? I love it.
    Expand
  7. Aug 19, 2010
    7
    Private Investigator, woman hires him to catch her cheating husband, husband's real wife turns up, husband drowns, corruption, twists &Private Investigator, woman hires him to catch her cheating husband, husband's real wife turns up, husband drowns, corruption, twists & turns.
    Film noir with Jack Nicholson doing what he does best before he started grunting his way through films. It has a great atmosphere with it set in 1930s Los Angeles & helped by good dialogue, music & locations.
    Definitely an influence for later films with LA Confidential & Basic Instinct taking from this..
    Expand

See all 33 User Reviews

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