Chinatown Reading Response
The film Chinatown, directed by Roman Polanski, incorporates the image system of blindness vs. seeing to effectively increase the depth and complexity of how the plot is revealed to the audience. The effect of this is the audience feeling that they are not just watching a film, they are solving a mystery in time with the characters and what they see is not always the truth. This image first appears in the form of the bi-focal glasses seen at the very beginning of the film at the reservoir. Jake Gittes, the anti-hero detective played by Jack Nicholson, chooses to ignore this vital clue, as do the audience. They make reappearance towards the climax of the film when Jake finds them in a saltwater pool at Evelyn Mulwray’s mansion and draws the wrong conclusion, his pride enforcing his clouded sight and the belief that “when you’re right, you’re right, and you’re right.” The glasses are cracked in the lens, a metaphor for Jake and the audience’s inability to see the facts clearly, causing them to make the wrong assumptions which ultimately leads to the tragic end of the film. The image system of blindness vs. seeing is also apparent in the flaw in the iris of Evelyn’s left eye. The flaw sets up the idea that the character of Evelyn herself is flawed, and the audience is initially distrusting of Evelyn because of this. It is only after the horrifying discovery about Katherine, that “she’s (her) sister AND her daughter” that Jake and the audience realise that they have been misled; she is possibly the only character who is trustworthy and honest. The final appearance of the image system of blindness vs. seeing occurs at the end of the film, the tragic climax. Evelyn attempts to flee Los Angeles with Katherine, but after shooting her father and murderer of her husband, Noah Cross in the arm, she is fatally shot through her left eye as she tries to escape. The consequences of Jake seeing too late were the death of the woman he was...
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