Well... I didn't see that coming. If you've seen this movie, you probably know what I'm talking about. And no, I'm not talking about the reveal of the villain or the reason behind it. Anywho, moving on, Chinatown focuses on private detective J.J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) who is hired to snoop around on Hollis Mulwray (Darrel Zwerling) and an affair he's having. But, well, one thing leads to another and Gittes not only has a murder investigation that gets him caught up with Mulwray's wife, Evelyn (Faye Dunaway), but a much bigger conspiracy that has something to do with water.
Coincidentally, I just watched Rango the night before this one, giving me two nights in a row with films on water dumping and thievery. Needless to say, the novelty of such a fresh idea didn't grab me as it probably otherwise might have. But then again, it's not that fascinating of a motive. The story was both interesting and... not. The movie wasn't boring, don't get me wrong. I think the way the film played out the story was done quite well and kept you guessing. However, the story itself, when all's said and done (with one major exception), is like... huh, OK. Now, the major exception is the shocker I mentioned in the opening. I totally didn't see it coming, and when you look at it after-the-fact, it's one really effed up movie. The following paragraph is spoilers, so read with caution if you haven't seen the film.
(SPOILERS) What's clear is that Katherine is Evelyn's sister/daughter due to incest... great, thanks a lot Polanski. Bringing me back to rape again, damnit! Anyway, what I gathered from there is that Evelyn's father and husband were business partners when she was a little girl. They had a fight when she "was still in grade school" and separated. Then the partner ends up marrying Evelyn, meaning he has to be at least 20 years older than her. Eventually, the man has an affair with his wife's sister/daughter. Not only is that weird in and of itself, but the girl was probably between 13-16 (OK, pedophilia), then the man himself had to be 30-40 years older than the girl or something. Unless I totally missed something. So the dad ends up seeing his former partner and current son-in-law cheating with his daughter/granddaughter and kills him, which also gets him the water rights he wants. And there's a whole other convoluted mess in there with land buying and whatnot, but I haven't figured that out yet. Anyway, to top it all off, at the end of the movie, the father not only gets away with it, but he takes his incest-daughter/granddaughter with him to do who knows what with. (END SPOILERS)
If I had any other complaints, it would be that this film is tough to follow. I'm still not 100% about everything that was going on or the motives behind things and whatnot. I'm sure that would be an easy fix with another watch, but I strongly doubt that will happen for a while. I didn't dislike the movie, but it's not one I'm gonna pop in when I'm bored. On the positive side, the acting and the writing in general was pretty dang good. Nicholson is great, and John Huston as Noah Cross was pretty fantastic. Of course, the writing won an Oscar for this film.
Sorry to disappoint, but I don't have any major thoughts on this film. It was good. I liked it. I'm not gonna go out of my way to watch it again, but I'm not disappointed I've seen it. I'm glad I have. Perhaps if anyone would like to spark a conversation in the comments, we could go from there. But for now, I'll just leave it at that.
(P.S. Please note, that rating is almost entirely on the film's entertainment value for me, not on its quality.)
(P.P.S. Whoo, review #40! I'm 2/3 of the way through the list!)