39 Days 39 Films

Day 1 – Chinatown

CinatownIt began with Jack Nicholson and ended with Jack Nicholson. Thinking about it, I may make ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ my final film. I rather like symmetry like that. China town is a confusing, twisting and turning narrative about a private detective (Nicholson) who decides to bite off seemingly much more than he (or indeed anybody else) can chew. This film, it must be said, does have it all; sex, blood, violence, (incest), corruption, and comedy – rather surprising and rather chilling comedy, considering the general nature of the film. In fact, one line which particularly caught my eye, during one tense exchange between Nicholson and the land and water magnate Noah Cross (John Huston) where the conversation turns to respectability, Cross says ‘Everything becomes respectable with age. Politicians, public buildings and whores all get respectable if they’re old enough’. Such lines where a moment of tension was uneasily broken by a short sharp comic line were common place in the film, and added strongly the gradual building of tension to the final climax. The soundtrack to the film was superb and wonderfully illustrated moments of tension, clearly signposting upcoming bad events, yet often early enough to keep the watcher second guessing themselves. Overall, a superb psychological-mystery thriller, in which Jack Nicholson, despite a bandage across his nose for most of the film, still manages to make it thoroughly watchable, sexy and dangerous.

Watchable? Yes, very. Easy to get stuck into and you find yourself constantly sucked into the story line.

Could I watch it in the bath? Depends whether or not you like to bathe to scenes of violence…but if you do then sure, be my guest.

Would I recommend it to all of my friends? Yes, it’s very accessible and if they are willing to give it a go they’re sure to enjoy it.

Interesting Fact: The line ‘how do you like them apples’ while commonly thought of as an iconic line from ‘Good Will Hunting’ actually appeared first in Chinatown.

Do I feel like I have a greater appreciation of cinema: Yes I do. The long surveillance scenes at the beginning of the film (often through binoculars or through car mirrors) are made to seem tense and exciting, thus showing the extent that camera work and music can effect the viewers appreciation of different scenes.

Rating in the series? #3

If you would like to suggest a film then please do leave a comment, and if you would like to see the full list, and my aim over these 39 days, then go to my 39 Days 39 Films page on my blog. Thanks for reading!

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