In 1974, director Roman Polanski released Chinatown starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. This film tells an excellent story of corruption and betrayal within a cities management center. Nicholson plays Jake Gittes who is a private investigator hired to investigate the alleged affair that L.A.’s chief engineer for the city’s water department, Hollis Mulwray is supposedly having. When things get turned upside down, this private investigator goes on the trail of his life. When Mulwary ends up dead a sense of suspicion arises and it’s on the hunt for how and why he really died.
In many ways this can be seen as a highly regarded political film. I would say this classifies as a revolutionary film. The film deals with corruption and how one man tries to change that by digging for the truth. The movie goes about trying to change the established order that has already been set. The issues in the film call for a societal change as well. In some cases in the film things were going on that the people either didn’t care about or were not paying attention too. When governments are corrupt it is the people’s job to do something about it and bring about change for the issue.
The political message is that when it comes to deals being made at the level of government discussed in the film, even if it’s at a local level, especially in a city, those who want or will benefit the most from a project will go to vast lengths to see it through. The message here is the central point to the film. Without this on going battle between the dealers and Gittes, then there would be nothing to uncover in the end. There would be no battle between the established order and the people of the area.
The usage of music, symbols, dialogue, and things of that nature played into the role of the film. The fact that it was set in 1930s L.A. where the corruption was high within government made the movie so much more intense. It gave the audience a sense of it being an old timer movie. The fact that it was the 1930s and the idea that L.A. hadn’t been hit too hard by the Depression was a twist to the movie I thought. Just went to show that certain parts of the country were hit differently.
The film does a great job at really presenting the message. For the most part it is not hidden under a bunch of jargon and b.s. It’s told in a manner where the audience can pick up on the point that’s being driven home without too much thought. I believe it is very safe to say that corruption in the political system at any level is prevalent. In some areas maybe more so as you climb the political ladder, but some of the nastiest corruption finds itself at the bottom. Reason being that many local people run local governments, when that happens, favors are called in, kick backs are granted and so on. The political message can defiantly be translated to fit our times now.
For instance many years ago the mayor of Providence Buddy Cianci was imprisoned for “illegal” doings while in office, calling in favors for things to be done around the city. The FBI didn’t like the way Cianci was running his city, so they probed him and even though what he was doing improved the city, it was done with bribes. So with that, this story can defiantly be put into today’s climate.
I personally really enjoyed this movie. It had a really good story and a message that I think a lot of people can relate too because they see or hear about it on the news or in the newspapers all the time. Corruption and extortion is a big part of our cultural. We will do anything to get anything done that will benefit our personal situation. This is one of the better stories in the films this class has watched. Also one of the better actors as well, that being Jack Nicholson, his character is very good in this film, very believable. I give this movie a seven out of ten stars!