One of my all-time favourite films, this was my first chance to see Roman Polanski’s gorgeously realized retro noir on the big screen. Jack Nicholson was right at the height of his acting powers here, appearing in every single scene as cocky yet resolute private eye Jake Gittes. Hired to investigate a simple affair, Gittes is soon drawn into a murky quagmire of corporate corruption and dark personal secrets. Faye Dunaway is fantastic as the femme fatale, and John Huston makes for a wonderfully despicable villain.
However, Chinatown works so well because of the world it re-creates – Los Angeles right on the brink of something spectacular. Polanski’s visual style is impeccable here – his use of lenses, mirrors, reflections and eyes always asking us to keep looking, to dig deeper and never trust that which first appears. The result is a near impeccable piece of cinema, where nobody puts a foot wrong, and one golden age of cinema is beautifully resurrected by another.