Monday, October 12, 2009

My Top Ten Movies of All Time

Number 4:

Chinatown (1974)

Directed by:  Roman Polanski

Starring:  Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Diane Ladd

Oscars (winners in bold):  11 Nominations (1 win) - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Best Sound, Best Original Screenplay

Ranking on AFI's 100 Greatest Movie List (2007):  21 

Review:  The film noir movie to end all film noir movies.  Only one movie in my estimation has been able to pull off this perfection of noir and mystery (such a movie will appeary later on my list).

Like all others on this list, perfectly acted, written, and directed.  The story was great, and unlike most mystery noir movies, it doesn't lose its edge with repeat viewings.  That is what contributes to its greatness.  Instead of being just another movie in which you are looking for clues that were supposed to give away the ending, you are noticing different nuances every time that make the movie more complete each time you see it.  Any movie that can build upon itself with repeat viewings deserves a spot on any top ten list.

Chinatown defined a genre and was Roman Polanski's true arrival on the scene as a great director.  Like Vertigo before it, this movie shows us what obsession can do to us and that sometimes we don't want to know what's underneath when we uncover something.  However, sometimes the desire to know what is under there is greater than the fear of what we might find.  Perhaps that is what drives us all, perhaps I am reading too much into the whole thing.  Either way, great film.

Why this made the list:

This is another movie in which I was completely engrossed at a young age.  The mystery aspect wasn't even what drew me in so much as it was the beauty of how it was shot, the expertise with which it was acted and directed and the general style of the film itself. 

As I have said before, any movie that can engross me like that will stick with me and deserves a spot on this list.  Chinatown makes it so high because it has been able to transcend many generations and has stuck around since my childhood.  So often, movies that you see, when you see them years later, are not as good as you remember.  That is not the case with this one.  It remains as brilliant as the first time you see it, and that is something that is a common theme the higher on my list we will climb.

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