Chinatown (1974) - Drama, Mystery, Thriller

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A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder.

IMDB: 8.2
Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway
Length: 130 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 42 out of 498 found boring (8.43%)

One-line Reviews (277)

Robert Towne's script is a compelling study of human depravity and the lonely struggle some people make to at least stem its effects.

Is the plot that exciting, isn't it just a typical crime story with a slight twist in the end?

Roman Polanski's landmark, marvelously complex, classic film noir masterpiece, which is a fascinating mystery which is set in 1930s Los Angeles.

Utterly enjoyable!

A stylish thriller, well worth watching, especially if you love film noir.

The pace of the film is admittedly slow, but if you allow yourself to be immersed in John A.

Majestic on the outside.. empty on the inside .

The story truly is very intelligent, suspenseful and emotionally devastating and has won many awards.

The character of Mrs.Mullway is intriguing and lends the story an unpredictable touch that it needs every now and then.

A very thrilling and compelling story that starts off a little slow and then picks up.

It's so slow, that I lost the gist of the what story is even about.

Visually stunning (as an auteur's films should be) "Chinatown" is also a period-piece which would make the BBC proud: it reeks of purity.

are forgotten about, and then some contrived soap opera story line takes center stage.

Doesn't sound all that exciting, but it's one of the film's strengths to take an ostensibly boring topic and make it fascinating.

It's exceptionally well written by Oscar winning Robert Towne who times the various developments to perfection and the technique of putting the audience in Gittes' shoes makes the whole journey a riveting experience.

Overall, this is an Oscar-caliber film that is worth watching.

It's a great reminder of how utterly engaging cinema can be without the special effects, flimsy plots and outrageous stunts of many major studio productions now, not evening mentioning the obvious marketing tie-ins.

Nicholson is pre-'Satanic'-eyebrows, and 'La Faye' simply stunning.

Polanski keeps the jagged script on the edge throughout the course and it is that awareness of the hidden Trump card that makes you bleed and sweat.

Dunaway's stunning performance in particular fills every scene with an aura of mystery as you are trying to find out what her motives are.

It's a dramatic film, and a predictable dramatic score is fitting.

There are many scumbags scattered throughout the film and while I wouldn't call the film confusing the director does manage to make you you can follow it from start to finish and he also makes sure that everything is laid out pretty well.

This murder mystery was intriguing and was always a few steps ahead of me.

Roman Polanski directed this complex but fascinating story of corruption that stars Jack Nicholson as private detective J.

What he does so brilliantly in Chinatown is import the soul-sick paranoia of 1930s Los Angeles into its depiction: the eponymous Chinatown is less of a physical presence than a state of mind - it's a lurid fantasy, an idea that hovers constantly around the fringes of the movie making it an ultimately intangible maelstrom of deceit, regret and confusion in which the only thing you can be sure of is that everything you know is - to one degree or another - wrong.

Jack Nicholson (One flew over the cuckoo's nest) stars alongside Faye Dunaway (Bonnie and Clyde) in Roman Polanski's (The Pianist) compelling crime drama Chinatown where Jake Gittes is hired to investigate an affair, which ultimately leads into a political and deadly investigation surrounding the town's water supply.

Nicholson shows a bunch of acting skills that make his act very believable and entertaining.

It's violent and it's loving, it's suspenseful and heartbreaking.

If anything, this story arc, as intertwined as it is with the grand one, is the more intriguing and ultimately more memorable one.

It's fascinating.

Terrible Ending Made the Movie a Waste of Time .

What is considered "superb structure" can just as easily feel like a ton of events that pile up and further sinks the film into a delirium of enduring boredom where instead of being uneventful, it is full of stuff happening, but all of which are dull and typical.

Notoriously bleak, yet utterly compelling, Chinatown remains a magnificent dissection of corruption right up to its enigmatic finale.

Her mysterious character draws you in with her unexpected reactions to the events, and when the truth is revealed, you will be shocked whether it be the secret or the disturbing nature of the secret.

This can be boring and exasperating when handled badly; it feels like the movie has left you by the wayside.

Slow At Times, But Worth The Watch .

Having said that, however, 'Chinatown' cannot but be characterized as representative of neo noir at its tightest and most gripping, with a celebrated screenplay that does not relax its hold on you till the unforgettable final scene - 'Forget it, Jake ...

Tedious, cliché, wildly overrated, cold, and trite .

Every scene here is a work of art, every nuance is thrilling, nothing is neglected.

Faye Dunaway is fascinating and powerful as the doomed Mrs. Mulwray.

I found myself falling asleep at 1:00 in the afternoon.

It's also very funny to see John Huston in such a great role(one of the best directors ever)You follows the detective and this gangster/film-noir is truly one of the most entertaining films ever.

This is one of the most fascinating, engrossing, and disturbing films ever made.

The only exception to this being a really great film was the most typical Hollywood cliche that has placed films like James Cameron's "TITANIC" into the category of pure absurdity and stupidity.

Slow paced and languid .

Above all, the great fast paced story with an ending that hits you right in the stomach has as much power today as ever.

The plot subtle and enjoyable (if you cant work it out - see, 'The Big Sleep'), the performances are very good, the script is quick and witty (in many ways).

As coolly intense and exceptionally-staged as any detective story/film-noir of the 40's & 50's .

And the way that they weave real history into it as well makes the story that much more intriguing.

IMO, it's breathtaking, with pacing so tight that I sit straight up thru the whole movie and my nerves become completely raw every time I watch, listen and FEEL it again.

The screenplay was fine, but I felt like I was going to drown in my own saliva from falling asleep in this boring movie.

It was just so damn contrived and out of nowhere that I found myself laughing a little and with a small smile on my face.

Not only does his attempt fail, but he himself is left feeling empty and helpless in the face of these powerful men, who he made the mistake of labeling as just human and subject to law like every other citizen.

I decided to give this movie a second viewing and thoroughly enjoyed it this time round.

Robert Towne has produced a screenplay thats is superbly written, fast paced for its 140 minutes length and becomes more interesting till the last frame, dialogues are written so well, that they are mystique when we hear and are so self explanatory when it happens in the film.

But just like in life, nothing is ever what it seems, and just like life, Chinatown is as unpredictable as the English weather, as from that moment in the office, we suddenly swept up in a whirlwind of excitement, tensions, laughs and shocks; as we find ourselves in a ever engulfing circle, consisting of millionaire corruption, murder, sheep, farmers.

Somewhat hard to follow when compared to most films, you really must pay attention during this one.

the story is certainly a work of art, it's very complex and unpredictable, and that's really what i liked about it.

Complex but Slow .

Truly, one of the most entertaining films ever.

Robert Towne was deserving of his Oscar win for Best Screenplay, delivering a complex story, real characters and combined with the acting and subtle direction makes for a very compelling thriller.

It was really riveting.

John Huston matches any screen villain before or since and the convoluted plot is evocative of Chandler.

Even the muted color cinematography (normally antithetical to the tenets of noir) is evocative and apppropriate.

He slowly begins to uncover one lie after another, and that is what makes Chinatown such an entertaining and masterful thriller.

But it was all silly, contrived, out of the blue, and a great plot twist that makes no sense, so I'm sure all of you were breathless when it was all said and done.

I find it fascinating to analyze the characters and their makeup.

There are sequences that are really intense and exciting.

The movie is all made so enjoyable because of a fantastic performance from Jack Nicholson.

You see, the cliché in film noir was to create a character totally at ease in the sleazy world he lives and operates in.

Though one plot deals with individuals and the other plot deals with society at large, they're both equally fascinating, and tie together in surprising ways.

However I found the story hard to follow, even in the two hours it took to explain it.

I highly recommend it to anybody that has never seen it or to anybody that has only seen it once.

The movie is worth watching once, not ten times!

I loved this film, the story line was brilliant, it kept you on the edge of your seat the whole entire time, and the end was a genuine surprise.

Dark and suspenseful film noir with Jack Nicholson at his best as PI Gittes finding out that he bit off far more the he can chew in taking on the powerful and at the same time degenerate Noah Cross.

And typical of movies that feature gumshoe detectives, the stories of both "The Big Sleep" and "Chinatown" are confusing and convoluted.

Faye Dunaway's performance is a fascinating study in duality, as her character seems self-consciously aware of her position as both femme fatale and damsel in distress throughout this film and then vacillates between them as though she is still trying to make up her own mind about who she is, which of course she is.

Roman Polanski's direction perfectly unravels this beautiful, fascinating, and disturbing story.

This is easily one of the greatest, most intriguing film noirs ever made.

I think the fact that this a very well written, potted movie is why mostfilm-goers find it entertaining.

The story to the movie is very strange,and there will be times when you'll get confused,and its filled with unexpected twists that you wont see coming.

When the movie started on a slow pace, I was having my doubts whether I would like it.

It's a very slow paced film that, for me, got a little bit too pedestrian towards the middle.

It's got terrible problems with PACING and is much too SLOW.

He takes an obscure subject and makes it fascinating.

Depressing but complex and riveting .

The Oscar winning script is extremely engaging.

Although I cannot say this movie is bad and although I really love both Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, watching this movie bored me to death.

Well, Chinatown is his masterpiece and in spite of its initial controversy in the 1970s, I find it to be one of the 'safer' and more enjoyable films he has directed.

I felt the score that is in line with the neo-noir style is a fine one and the late Jerry Goldsmith does a magnificent job in making quite bland and ordinary scenes seem yet again, exciting and also gives a lovely air of mystery even in the music.

On the surface it's a compelling detective film, while it's also about the corrupt power of big business.

That was more than 10 years ago, and when they showed it on TV again, in 1999, I tried to watch it once again with a more mature mind, but I still thought it was very dull and un-appealing.

Gittes and his assistants waste no time in wrapping up the case.

Scenery of 1930's Los Angeles was fascinating, especially the cars.

The movie explains nothing and writing this style of movie won't get a blockbuster, audiences and just bore someone to tears.

Wrapping up this entertaining fare are some striking sets and dapper costumes that bring 30's LA effectively and affectively to life, while Jerry Goldsmith's score is a memorable one.

And as long as there are ten or eleven of those, contrived as they all are, you seem to love it.

Fast enough to keep a person's interest, but slow enough to show the lush locations and buildings.

Though the conspiracy itself is intricate and intriguing, and the characters are very compelling, the real draw of the plot is in its themes.

It honestly felt like this was Chinatown 2 and I missed the far superior, more exciting Chinatown 1.

The soundtrack was perfect, mixing some suspenseful music with some jazz that fits the Era.

A clever, slow-burning thriller from director Roman Polanski.

Images so pure and intense that I can see them by just mentioning the name "Chinatown".

4/10 (Slow paced and languid).

Slow paced and languid .

) Occasionally has cliche 'detective movie moments' (Although, that could be viewed as part of the homage to detective fiction - hence the '(?

Eventough whole movie is full of slow moments, the story itself is not slow.

I am a man who is having an opinion on the kind of films worth watching should be social oriented clubbed with cinematic marvels.

Slow paced and languid .

Want to wonder watch the same actor who scared you in the Shining bore you to death?

Really though, top accolades must go to director Polanski (who also made a cameo appearance) and screenwriter Towne (academy award winner for this) for fashioning such an intriguing yarn.

It's also intriguing how there are three levels of crime in the film; the major crime of the land grab and the rape of the valley; the personal crime committed by Noah Cross on his daughter; and a third level, which is in a sense a 'crime' committed by Jake Gittes.

Instead, Roman Polanski directs this in a very bland fashion.

I think it was beautifully shot, casted, and scripted, but the story was a bit of a slow burner.

Visually, it's a masterpiece--and while the story gets a little slow once in awhile in uncovering a convoluted plot involving land rights and water control, it leads to a highly suspenseful ending.

I fell asleep - and I was the projectionist!

But overall just too bland and boring.

I watched it clear through to the end and just felt empty afterward.

A thrilling homage to the classic Hollywood detective noir films.

Interesting and thrilling script by Robert Towne who wrote the screenplay with Jack Nicholson in mind and deservedly won Oscar for the best original screenplay .

OK I am going to be honest, the movie was made with skill and the actors was good, but the whole movie is extremely dull and moves very slowly.

But it takes more than isolated elements to make a memorable movie, one worth watching more than once.

This is a thoroughly well-made, interesting, entertaining movie.

A bit boring, I did not find this film very engaging at all .

Faye Dunaway is equally as impressive as Mrs Mulwray and these two characters with strong personalities and agendas create tense and engaging situations, justifying the genre beautifully.

Roman Polanski's Caustic Neo-Noir is So Compelling that "You Can't Forget It".

It's Unpredictable, Engrossing, Detailed & Shocking.

"Chinatown" does not have that, so for me it just becomes another uninteresting story, although a fictional one, about bad people getting their way.

The movie's drab and macabre feeling resonates long after the movie ends.

Sexy and scintillating, dark and devasting the story line is absolutely absorbing.

It's always compelling.

But Jack Nicholson did a breathtaking performance that went down in history.

Nicholson's Gittes, who appears so competent and sharp-witted most of the time, conceals the star's smug persona and conveys a engaging commitment of the happening as the plot thickens, one of my personal favourite performance from him, simply because one literally sympathises for his vulnerability and powerlessness when he is held to face the bleak music; Dunaway, whose inscrutable mien reveals a little bit of something, each time her Evelyn comes under the spotlight, is she a femme fatale?

Renowned for its stylised performances, artful direction and riveting story telling technique, Roman Polanski's Chinatown captures a bygone era of crime drama.

The ending is a stunning payoff to what has transpired.

Chinatown seemed a bit slow and long to me.

There are so many memorable lines in the film, and every twist in the plot is completely unpredictable.

The man trying to unravel the whole caper, as they say, is Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson), a private dick who usually specializes in smaller and more mundane cases, like marital infidelity.

The slow, lonely horn evokes a dark and brooding mood totally in sync with the classy cinematography.

And the film was definitely interesting and exciting.

It's a rare thriller, one that addresses itself to serious moral and public policy issues while remaining gripping, exciting and finally heartbreaking.

This movie was phenomenal and I would highly recommend it to others.

It would be unusual nowadays to have so many great talents collaborating on such a pessimistic story; fortunately, in 1974, the makers of "Chinatown" pooled their efforts and created a tragic, engaging, and outstanding movie.

It also creates a perfectly realized and fascinating world through its cinematography and set design.

The plot is gripping and riveting; so seeing this film is definitely an interesting way to spend an evening.

I really liked the slow, drawn out plot.

My problem is that the story is slow moving and nothing that exciting happens.

I felt that this movie was slow and boring at times.

I won't give the finish away, but it does end in Chinatown in an unexpected and tragic way.

Towne's script is full of great dialogue and intriguing situations.

The story here is both predictable as it is suspenseful and without the big screen presence of jack Nicholson may have not been anything more of a Roman Polanski diversion.

i thought this movie was very interesting; it had a very complicated and interesting murder mystery, and a lot of sudden unexpected plot twists.

I will allow that the film is set against a dark and slightly horrific background and that some people find that type of movie compelling.

What's more, in all this crazy, dizzying mess Gittes meets a very fascinating and troubled woman, with a difficult mystery attached to herself.

Roman Polanski's Direction, like the film itself, is Unpredictable & Engrossing.

conclusion: it's a very good movie, just be prepared for some unexpected stuff.

The only real flaw in the film is its occasionally extremely slow pace.

While it is interesting and very intriguing, it didn't necessarily "grip" me the way that a mystery/crime drama/thriller would be expected to.

But if you ever get bored, you could always feast your eyes on the gorgeous backgrounds and style.

A very engaging story, doesn't let up, and there is not a single wasted moment!

This has to be one of the SLOWEST movies I've ever watched and I can't understand for the life of me why anyone thinks it's such a classic or why it's considered to be a "perfect" screenplay.

Robert Towne's labyrinthine script keeps the proceedings thrilling, humorous and disturbing at the same time, pepped up greatly by the crackling dialogues.

roman polanski's chinatown is a thrilling masterpiece, meticulously building up the terror and jack nicholson plays a typical noir detective to perfection, with his dry humour and the lines are great for any fan of raymond chandler.

"And I must also mention Jerry Goldsmith's stunning combination of Cowell/Cage avant guard piano techniques and Gershwin in the score.

Last but not least, the score is simply haunting and instantly evocative.

Strong screen writing makes this movie fast-paced, intriguing and humorous.

' Masterful direction by Polanski, with a captivating and intelligent Oscar winning original screenplay by Robert Towne, stunning cinematography by John A, Alonzo, and an evocative, dynamic score by the late great Jerry Goldsmith.

Alonzo (Scarface) is breathtaking.

The bulk of the film is composed in drab browns and greys, which evoke the era, as well as the theme of drought.

Maybe it's just a little too slow for my taste.

Great directing, thrilling storyline and many detailed puzzles hidden in it account for a most memorable experience.

Mixing humor, and also dark and thrilling moments to the history.

*Music/Sound: Mysterious and intriguing sound design combined with the score make this an audio pleasure of a film.

Jerry Goldsmith's musical score echoes loss and tragedy as everything comes to a rousing, murderous halt in CHINATOWN.

One of the most entertaining films ever!.

Polanski manages to not only capture the spirit and feel, to say nothing of the look, of film noir movies, but also to make a film noir movie that is riveting and exciting in its own right, about thirty years after the Golden Age of that particular genre.

Director Roman Polanski was nominated for best director for his ability to create a movie that is able to involve a real life problem and incorporate it into a mysterious and gripping story.

My Rating : 9/10Roman Polanski's Chinatown is a slow, brooding film-noir reminiscent of the 40's.

As for the film it was such a grim, fascinating and intricate story.

He added to the mystery of the film by his unusual and sometimes suspenseful camera angles that are in the league of a Hitchcock film.

It is unexpected and it is sad.

It's a really entertaining movie that also keeps you enthralled, not knowing what's going to happen next.

A very classy, consistently engaging and dark detective story .

All though, that was the only brief amount of enjoyment I got out of it, because the rest was just so slow.

All this other stuff keeps the movie, and Nicholson, going, and it's snappy and well done.

The cast, the locations, the script, the direction, the dialogue, the photography and that evocative score are all pretty much perfect.

This exciting movie packs mystery, tension, nail-biting scenes, strikingly suspense and colorful images .

The set pieces are beautiful, the score is compelling; and camera-work and editing could not be any better.

In addition, Polanski's masterpiece is intense as it's cynical, and full of intelligent twists that keep us always guessing and trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle.

"Chinatown" combines power and corruption with sex and murder into a needlessly complex plot, written perhaps deliberately to confound viewers, in keeping with traditional noir doctrine, which espouses that confusion equals arty sophistication.

We get dragged out performances with out any spice.

Stylish and intriguing.

Pretentious and over-rated .

) The pacing is slow at the beginning, but then gets absorbing.

Slow-paced, tacky, outdated, boring.

Flawless storytelling accompanied by snappy dialogue, and a climax that cuts deeper than that of documentary reality.

Very boring .

A youthful Jack Nicholson is at his very best and most plausible in the role of Jake Gittes, featuring in a continuously engaging story, which can be appreciated as a timelessly sophisticated tribute and homage to Chandler.

A film about LA and water set in the l930's during a drought with a dark incestuous subplot and some stunning performances by Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson, and superb cinematography that seemed to capture the essence of LA.

With a renowned script, an infamous director, and an unexpected ending, Chinatown's earned its place at the head of the whodunit genre.

Everything is over done to the point of being contrived.

Despite that flaw, I found a few aspects of the film (cinematography, acting, musical score, etc.) to be fascinating and impressive.

Polanski is worth watching no matter what he does.

I fell asleep on consecutive nights while trying to get through it and finally finished it on the third try.

The stunning finale still packs an emotional wallop.

Dark, gripping, and enthralling .

an exciting, thrilling 9!

When you look at lists of best movies written by most critics you are bound to run into some that may be classics but are just plain boring, this isn't one of those.

Watching Jake shift from an uncaring and distant detective to a detective so personally involved in the case not only makes him a thrilling character, it makes the ending so much more intense and tragic.

With a gritty opening and a fascinating and dramatic climax, Chinatown has established itself as one of the best written crime dramas of the 70's and deserved Oscar winner for best writing original screenplay with excellent dialogue, no cheesy clichés or anything like that, a true realistic approach to the crime world, which is helped along by an excellent cast and brilliant direction.

But it is incredibly slow getting anywhere and were are times when I had to force myself to keep watching.

With a great photo, extremely clear and brings new york life together with an assembly that joins the script to bring a great rhythm to the film, and a soundtrack that combines but is not marked in technical parts, the film has no much to criticize, is not perfect, but is not far behind the artistic part of the film, part that brings jack nicholson who is incredibly in a centered role, and alias, doing a great performance, and the stunning Faye Dunaway, who we love and hate her throughout the film, and she makes the whole story run around her, and she succeeds in behaving like the guiding thread of the script, interpreting many facets.

Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway are perfectly cast, the background score is sublime and the dark detective story is consistently engaging and very, very classy.

The script is slow but somehow Towne makes it exciting in a way and lets you watch with an air of what's next around the corner, just a top job from a top writer.

It's his fascinating take on the corruption, greed and violence that lead people to become inhumane and brutal towards one another.

The story would still be fascinating and shocking.

Overall, an always-fascinating film no matter how many times you watch it or how well you understand it.

*Dull sorta film overall.

Slightly better than watching paint dry .

Stylish and intriguing .

The highlights of this film are the Chinaman joke (easily Nicholson's best and funniest monologues), Dunaway's stunning daughter/sister revelation, Roman Polanski's knife-wielding thug that provides one of Hollywood's most memorable props and the film's surprising conclusion.

Oh, sorry I forget 15 is too old for him) and add a cherry on top for being absolutely pointless and you have Chinatown.

Robert Towne's brilliant script is the baseline for this fascinating story of the Los Angeles and environs of the 1930s, a time when power was wedded to corruption, greed, family secrets of aberrant stature, and manipulation of resources (here the Department of Water and Power, the police, and entrepreneurs).

thrilling, exciting masterpiece .

John Huston, screen legend, is intensely engaging in his role as land baron Noah Cross.

Besides telling a gripping story involving incest and political graft, CHINATOWN recaptures the atmosphere of Los Angeles, 1937--the cars, clothes, and buildings, right down to the barber chairs (kudos to production designer Richard Sylbert and costumer Anthea Sylbert).

The plot is highly absorbing and Robert Towne deservedly won an Oscar for his screen writing.

Many riveting scenes and confrontations play out while everything gets lovingly and beautifully lit and photographed; period recreation is also strong.

In late career, Polanski has made some pretty ropey thrillers: but here his direction is taut throughout, and the film is compelling and atmospheric.

One being that I thought that the movie was very drawn out and quite frankly I thought it was a little long.

Fascinating mystery thriller in the Dashiell Hammet-Raymond Chandler style about an eye private who becomes involved into a complex criminal intrigue centering municipal corruption, and uncovering corruption , land sell , incest and murder .

The film is assured and entertaining; it pulls the viewer in without giving out enough information concerning the milieu, though this lack of knowledge for our sake doesn't hurt the returns.

Enjoyable .

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 4: Worth watching.

A Bit Confusing But Always Fascinating .

Uniformly, the film is hailed as one of the finest productions out of Hollywood, Robert Towne's Oscar-winning script delineates a conspiracy theory based on the true story which grants the story a tangible relevance, but also dives into a more personal matter of shocking taboo, to establish cinema is really a voyeuristic projector of all the dirty corners in our universe, A minor bellyaching is that, Gittes' function in the plot feels somewhat contrived, if Noah is so intent on locating what he is looking for, why on earth he would leave Evelyn out of his sight?

Over all it's a really compelling detective story with quite a few twists and turns in it.

The family history, their relationships current and past, is what makes this detective story such a compelling one.

Boring for a Jack Nicholson film .

As each week goes by we are seeing his legend grow, and it's really thrilling.

There are one or two lines which are directly evocative of Chandler at his best.

Doesn't sound all that exciting, but it's one of the film's strengths to take an ostensibly boring topic and make it fascinating.

And keeping all of this fascinating material well in hand is Roman Polanski, himself a player in the film as the hood who slashes Nicholson's nose.

What wound up being the single most appropriate adjective for describing this film, was the cogently riveting one of POWERFUL!!

Slow and dragged out, a real yawner.

This detective's movie is an engaging watch.

before WW2 and follows the unpredictable trail that private eye Jake Gittes (Jake Nicholson) takes and eventually caught up in a mess over water.

It gets too confusing and not thrilling enough.

Riveting and gorgeous classic film with evocative settings , wonderful cinematography and rousing soundtrack .

I just love that music and way it interweaves with the ongoing theme - it's perfectly united with the faithful and compelling use of the film-noir style.

Jerry Goldsmith contributes a haunting and evocative score.

Suffice it to say that it is brilliant, and is even more enjoyable on a second viewing so that it is easier to follow.

The support these two leads get form John Huston (a most enjoyable turn), Perry Lopez and Burt Young is also most commendable.

What kept me from really enjoying the movie is that director Roman Polanski chose the pace to be slow as maple syrup.

Though its excellent screenplay features the requisite snappy dialogue and tight, twisty plotting, its deeply cynical view of human nature takes the film beyond simple entertainment into near-tragedy.

Usually in the hands of any other director or writer, this could've turned into a run-of-the-mill whodunit, but Towne's scripts adds so many unexpected twists and turns throughout the story, leading the audience to unexpected places.

Jake would've probably thought of old Hollis to be the most fascinating tail he's ever tracked in years, following him to public meetings, beaches, and even a mistress that finishes it all.

Exciting, captivating, and harrowing-one of the greatest films ever made.

Reading many user reviews, it seems that many give it bonus points for having an unexpected, and dark, ending.

Once relocated, I quickly discovered the historically interesting side to the story and then appreciated the movie from yet another compelling angle.

It's all great fun to watch and confusing as hell at times.

The action builds in a crescendo to one of the most unexpected and memorable endings in cinematic history.

The story line was brilliant, it kept you on the edge of your seat the whole entire time.

It's for many reasons a fascinating movie that shows very well what a talented director Roman Polanski actually is.

Sometimes the movie does move too slow and loses its proper pace.

A more concise, compact telling of the tale would have made that description more apt instead of this long, rambling story with its engineering background and slow revelations.

I thought it was just an interesting period piece about a wise guy gumshoe who stumbled onto a confusing scheme to steal water in 1930s L.

I personally enjoyed it quite well and think it's an excellent film.

Really intense.

The movie is an absorbing 2 hour experience as you get completely lost as the plot unravels and more of the mystery unfolds.

Instead of this, it is tense, suspenseful and entertaining.

The film remains incredibly absorbing right up until the devastating finale.

Two hours of the most excruciating boredom watching male chauvinistic pigs who think there is nothing wrong in raping, beating or in general any other form of abusing women, sprinkle in some under-age sex with your own daughter (how ironic that three years later the film's director will be charged with such an offence – was he planning his own future?

I've read some comments here by people who are afraid that today's generation will find this movie slow-moving or boring; I have to disagree with this assertion, as I, at the age of 18, was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Other examples include Michael Winner's remake of "The Big Sleep", "Body Heat", "Gorky Park", "No Mercy", "Tequila Sunrise", "LA Confidential" and the more recent "Insomnia".

All in all, the movie comes together quite well, and as much as you are kept on the edge of your seat with the suspense of the mystery, you are left with the powerful feeling that maybe capitalism isn't the way to go.