Review of a Review Literature Vce 3/4 'Chinatown'

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James Berardinelli’s review on Roman Polanski’s Chinatown purports that the film is ‘one of the best films to emerge from the 1970s’, exploring his value judgements and sweeping generalizations but providing minimal evidence to substantiate. Berardinelli immediately introduces his review in a positive light, often adopting debateable opinions. Not only does he cite this movie as ‘the high-water point’ in both Jack Nicholson and Polanski’s careers but he also labels it the ‘finest colour entry into the film noir genre’; rarely issuing substantial evidence, his assumptions form the basis of his review wherein he renders the film in favourable light. In this regard, Berardinelli is quite acute, identifying the key ideals underlining the ‘superior thriller[‘s]’ success. However, Berardinelli’s review seems to dwell on the abundance of judgements and lack of theoretical perspectives that inform his interpretation. Nevertheless, Berardinelli’s review presents a thoroughly debateable view of the film, successful in addressing Polanski’s ‘nearly flawless example of movie composition.’

In Berardinelli’s eyes, Chinatown emanates many twists but the plot is ‘complex and doesn’t stop every ten minutes’, entailing the spectator’s attention. He cites ‘there are some surprises, one of which is significant’ but ultimately doesn’t support this claim with a sufficient example, as a result lacking substantial evidence to advocate his opinion. However, fundamentally, this may be the consequence to the prevention and preclusion of spoilers in his review. He defines Chinatown with ‘a maze of labyrinthine’ plot turns, the use of tautology redundant and unnecessarily attempting to exude sophistication. The heart of Berardinelli’s interpretation lies disarray; Berardinelli when recounting the summary of plot describes ‘Cross and some others’ as the schemers responsible for the San Fernando conspiracy. Chinatown suggests anti-capitalism, showing without a doubt that money has far more...
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