‘Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.’(last line of Roman Polanski’s 1970 film Chinatown)As Jake Gittes (played by Jack Nicholson) is led away from a bloody crime scene, he is reminded by his assistant that most of elite society’s moral detritus ends up in Chinatown. It’s best to ‘do as little as possible’ and let ethnic henchmen and the urban poor clean up the mess. While much of the film is about a private eye investigating the murder of LA’s water commissioner, the plot recounts the political corruption involved in capturing inland water supplies to feed the growing metropolis. Billionaire Noah Cross (played by John Huston) not only possesses the great wealth and power necessary to conduct multi‐million‐dollar development deals and purchase the requisite politicians and land plots, he is also guilty of rape, incest and a host of other unspeakable crimes (including the commissioner’s death). In response to all of these atrocities he utters the famous line: ‘You see, Mr Gittes, most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they're capable of anything’. Chinatown is a story of unbridled corruption, theft, murder and brutality that exposes the vicious and ugly underbelly
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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