Monday, January 30, 2006

"Forget it, Jake..."

"It's Chinatown."

What a perfect, disheartening ending to as flawless a flick as the 1970s were able to produce. I am compelled to re-watch "Chinatown" once every three to five years (as I did last night), just to sit back and marvel at the craft that went into making it. To think, Bob Evans, Polanski, and Bob Towne all have to be on the same page -- and then they had to cast it with two of the most electrifying actors of the era, Nicholson and Dunaway. Everything works, every last bit of it.

Towne remarked that a lot of noirish detective stories revolve around a dame or a gold bird, but none of them centered on water -- or power, more appropriately. Towne crosses the streams of detective fiction and urban L.A. lore, and that is precisely why this movie works so well -- you're watching a fait accompli of how modern L.A. came to be, with only Jake Gittes standing in the way of bad men -- in total futility (this was the '70s after all).

I get tranced-down watching Polanski shoot Dick Sylbert's sunlight-tinged production values; L.A. has rarely ever looked sexier or more dangerous. Jack is handsome; Faye is glamorous; John Huston menacing.

I love this movie so much I want to relocate to Canada and wed it in a "Same-Movie Marriage" ceremony that their permissive, leftist, Mapleist culture allows.