Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 1974
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, John Hillerman, Perry Lopez, Burt Young, Bruce Glover, Joe Mantell, Roy Jenson, Diane Ladd, Dick Bakalyan, Darrell Zwerling, James Hong, Cecil Elliott, Beulah Quo, Federico Roberto, Allan Warnick, John Rogers, Roman Polanski, Nandu Hinds, James O'Rear, Jerry Fujikawa, Belinda Palmer, Roy Roberts, Noble Willingham, Elliott Montgomery, Rance Howard, George Justin, Doc Erickson, Fritzi Burr, Charles Knapp, Claudio Martinez, John Holland, Jesse Vint, Jim Burke, Denny Arnold, Elizabeth Harding, Paul Jenkins, Lee De Broux, Bob Golden
Director: Roman Polanski
Country: USA
UK: 131 mins
UK Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 23 April 2004 (Limited Re-release - London)


Working from Robert Towne's impressively complex and resonant script about various kinds of corruption and venality in 30s LA, Roman Polanski fashioned a silk-smooth film noir that is rightly regarded as one of the greatest American movies of the 70s.

Jack Nicholson is at his very best as cocksure private eye Jake Gittes, who finds himself increasingly out of his depth after taking on what at first appears to be a simple divorce case but which in fact leads to a near-insoluble mystery as far-fetching as it is dangerous; an encounter with the beautiful and rich Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunnaway) merely adds to his troubles.

Stunningly shot (by John Alonzo) and designed (by Richard Sylbert), the film evokes a sun-filled paradise whose economic, political, sexual and racial foundations are kept concealed in murky shadows; the city is as seductive, deceptive and enigmatic as the people Gittes meets on his voyage into a labyrinthine darkness that is both moral and psychological. Effortlessly avoiding the pitfalls of mere pastiche, this is a film that amply rewards repeated viewings.

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