Chinatown (1974) *


Reasonably effective thirties-set private eye pastiche that enjoys a somewhat baffling reputation as one of the most important films of the nineteen-seventies.

Short on both humanity and thrills, and boasting a plot that is simultaneously unsurprising and incredibly convoluted, it is unquestionably the work of cynics: their pride in its lousy unhappy ending is obvious. Jack Nicholson is all over the place as usual, but the supporting cast work well, and John Huston is in scene-stealing form.
Some good lines and performances; a very basic but no less effective sense of period.