Xtwelve’s review published on Letterboxd:
Yeah, Imma say it just like everyone else:
" Forget it Jake. It's Chinatown"
Though, all the same I guess you could say I didn’t entirely get Chinatown, but it’s also so simple and face value I think I can just say it didn’t strike a chord with me as much as I wanted it to. I mean, the story is drenched in this contrast less tone that I absolutely love, a bursting score so vibrant and cutting through the misty atmosphere I almost thought my headphones weren’t working at first, and some of simply the best composition known to man and use of complementary color, like a Do The Right Thing level heat creation but with sepia instead, but, well, in terms of political corruption, thriller, mysteries when it all comes down to it the plot, pacing, and lead performance, these main things the film needed to actually sell itself on, are drier and less interesting than all the film's drought-baked riverbeds.
The deconstruction of the sleuth process, yet re-imaging of what it means to be a noir is fascinating (when well directed, in that regard Polanski is a little weak if I’m honest) but all this stuff about the water really isn’t, the last thirty minutes are an utter masterpiece of blocking, screenwriting, and framing visual realization, but I just can’t say the same of even the things that set them up. It’s actually real weird considering how much I love something like Motherless Brooklyn, which now that I think about it is a near ripoff making “New York’s direct to DVD, blockbuster version of Chinatown”, similarly splitting its dense and crisscrossing story into two concurrent plotlines that delve into both the personal and the upscale corporate, but I couldn’t see it in what rightfully should have been the fresher original. Which, to another point that famous line at the end really only applies to the thematics of the last few scenes, more or less coming out of nowhere in a manner reminiscent of the forced romance conflict set-up, payoff, whatever. It’s still my favorite line in all of cinema, probably, but, it maybe could have been conveyed in an even more beautiful way as well. There’s plenty more I have to say, I just don’t know have to say it, so, feel free to get in a war with me in the comments, and come to think of it actually that would help quite a bit, seeing how people positively view certain elements to truly articulate why I feel the opposite.
Sidenote: Also, a Polanski film with a rapist that gets away with everything is, um,.......😬