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Chinatown (1974)

A thriller about how Los Angeles set its boundaries hardly sounds like the most scintillating idea. But in the hands of screenwriter Robert Towne, director Roman Polanski and a top-notch cast headed by Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Huston it became an enduring classic, as seductive today as it was 50 years ago. Nicholson is private eye Jake Gittes. When he’s hired to find out if the city’s chief engineer is cheating on his wife, he gets caught up in a web of murder and corruption with Dunaway’s icy beauty at its center. John A. Alonzo’s smoky cinematography and Jerry Goldsmith’s sinuous, jazz-tinged score conjure the world of film noir but with a modern sensibility shaped by the political upheavals of the 1970s.

d. Roman Polanski, 130m, DCP