Pulp Consumption: Chinatown

Posted: July 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

This week I talked about the neo-noir film CHINATOWN, and how it subverts a lot of the old hardboiled PI tropes.

Broadswords and Blasters

“Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown.”

Arguably one of the greatest noir films in existence, CHINATOWN exemplifies the best of the genre. Jake Gittes isn’t what anyone would consider to be a typical hero. He’s ex-police turned private eye, more interested in making a buck than seeing justice done. He’s hired by someone claiming to be Evelyn Mulwray, the wife of the city’s water commissioner. Only a simple job turns out to be not so simple when Mrs. Mulwray turns out not to be Mrs. Mulwray and the water commissioner ends up dead.

What follows is an excellent example of crafting plot and counter plot, of showing the not only the big picture plot elements (the water shortage and its cause), but the personal elements as well. Jake, while not what anyone would call a knight-in-shining-armor does come to care for the real Evelyn, which makes the ending even more of…

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