Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and even Roman Polanski as “Man With Knife” (when Roman Polanski took JJ Gittes’ nose-cherry, a little piece of me died inside). It raises a question, of course- how can a man like Polanski create an epic noir thriller like Chinatown considering that a mere seven years prior his tour de farce was Fearless Vampire Killers or: Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck? I admit that I was a little crestfallen when I saw that the latter but not later work was not on the AFI’s list. Truly, truly crestfallen.
Were it not for The Godfather, Part II, I’m certain this movie would have taken home more than one measly Academy Award. As it is, though, I still consider it a great example of the noir genre, although not as enjoyable as The Maltese Falcon. Maybe I’m just bogarting the Bogart, but Nicholson doesn’t seem to convey the je ne se quois of a private dick.
That is, Nicholson didn’t seem to convince me that he was trying to unravel a mystery, in that in his other memorable roles, he’s more of a mastermind, more in control of events around him. Perhaps I should rephrase that, and say “in the last three Nicholson movies I’ve seen” - those being Batman, The Shining, and A Few Good Men. He just doesn’t convince me that he’s not fully aware of what’s going on.