Although classic film noir generally is in reference to a style of film from the 40’s and 50’s, film noir form and style can be found in some contemporary films. One of those being Roman Polanski’s Chinatown.
Although Chinatown breaks certain rules of film noir – it was filmed in 1974 and is in COLOR (black and white film is a traditional element of Film Noir) it models itself with formal elements of Film Noir genre including the sexy femme-fatale (with a twist), a protagonist main character seeking truth, and the plot laced with deceit, murder and greed.
The film uses many shadows and dark and light contrasts. The low key soft lighting keeps the scenes dark and gloomy and projects the air of suspense. The viewer is told the story through the central character, Gittes, a hard-nosed detective in 1930’s LA, after he takes a case investigating adultery gets caught up in the middle of murder, lies and conspiracy- entangled into the dark side of humanity. When he meets the ‘real’ Evelyn, who comes across as mysterious, sensual and troubled, Gittes falls further into this web of corruption and complication as well as falling for Evelyn.
The films keep the rhythm and pace slow seducing the viewer deep into the story. As in classic film noir Chinatown has a confrontational ending but with Chinatown there are surprising twists. We...