History through Film: Chinatown Review
In a paragraph of about 300 words, answer the following question: do you think Chinatown had the appropriate ending or should Polanski have stuck to Robert Townes’? Explain Robert Townes’ ending then tell us how it actually ends and then whether you agree or not. Use quotes from Gilliat and Kael.
The film Chinatown (1974) is a neo-noir, psychological drama film, based on the California Water Wars. If the film had ended the way Robert Townes’ had anticipated it to, the private eye/detective, Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson), upon realising the nightmare that Evelyn Mulray (Faye Dunaway) had been through, and after she had killed her father who had raped her, would have helped Evelyn’s daughter escape to Mexico to be safe. However, Polanski has other plans. He ends the film with Evelyn shooting her father in the arm and driving away with her daughter, only for her to be shot in the head by the other police, and leaving her daughter traumatized and in the hands of her incestuous father/grandfather.
I personally preferred Polanski’s ending, as it gave the film a darker, more exciting theme as opposed to a happy Hollywood ending. Throughout the film, “evil runs rampant” (Kael), and this only adds to the suspense and drama of it. Despite being the director, Polanski plays a small role in the film as a “vicious midget hood” (Kael) who slits open Gittes’ nose, leaving him a bandage on his face the majority of the remainder of the film, and when it comes off there is an ugly set of black jagged stitches up his nose. This makes the film seem more realistic, which is another reason why I enjoyed it. Overall, the theme and complexity of the issues going on throughout the course of the film and the constant action is made it a thoroughly enjoyable film for me, and there was never a moment when I felt bored with it. However, some scenes did seem to be dragged out and perhaps over done a little....
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