Channels old chinatown you can count on me - Chinatown (1974) - Greatest Films


We remember the famous bandage plastered on Nicholson’s nose (after the Polanski character slices him), and think of him as a hard-boiled tough guy. Not at all. In one scene he beats a man almost to death, but during his working day he projects a courtly passivity. “I’m in matrimonial work,” he says, and adds, “it’s my metier.” His metier? What’s he doing with a word like that? And why does he answer the telephone so politely, instead of barking “Gittes!” into it? He can be raw, he can tell dirty jokes, he can accuse people of base motives, but all the time there’s a certain detached underlevel that makes his character sympathetic: Like all private eyes, he mud wrestles with pigs, but unlike most of them, he doesn’t like it.


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