copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

It is not that Chinatown is really excelling at something, but more that it doesn't have any big flaws.

Chinatown is a "film noir" from the 70s about an early 20th century private investigator working a case. Played by Jack Nicholson, this fellow has a passion for finding out the truth regardless of the circumstances and he gets a bit too involved in a case.

The film has a really good flow, almost too perfect, with a slowly growing tension until the end. Nothing feels awkward or out of place.

The two main actors, Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, are high caliber actors who do exactly what the film requires them to, but also none of the other actors mess up their roles. Even a kid who shows up in the movie for about 20 seconds is good at what he does.

The music has a jazzy feel to it, but is filled with instrument effects that are integrated very effectively with the events in the film.

There is nothing wrong with the camera work either. Good shot composition. Nothing brilliant or innovative though.

But, if I had to nitpick, there are some issues with the story and its characters.

The bad guy is not well outlined. His motivations and logic remain a bit obscure by the end of the movie.

The plot overall is not always unclear. The general lines are clear enough but some details may escape you. This is a problem with detective stories in general, when the story goes down one path then down another and introduces minor characters that disappear only to reappear half a movie later and you are left with questions like "Wait, so who killed that other girl and did she know that other guy?".

Also, for such a steady rise in the storyline, it ends very abruptly with a few of the issues still unresolved, though the abrupt end does fit the story of Jack Nicholson's character.

Overall, this is a very clean and well put together film, but at the end of it I did not cheer or cry or change my mind about something. Chinatown excels only at being a very solid film.