Chinatown was a fantastic movie. I actually chose to watch this one because on Switched at Birth on Monday, Bay and Emmett went and saw it and were talking about Film Noir and I was like….. this is a sign that Chinatown is for me! I went into it without any real expectations, but I’m glad I did that because it turned out to be even better than I would have expected.
The first thing that surprised me was that it was not in black and white. However, there were a lot of distinct Noir features that still worked in a colored setting! Here are my screenshots.
This screenshot captures lighting from one side. You can really feel the dramatic effect it makes, and how much power it truly has. The way the shadows engulf their faces makes for a better scene. It also adds to the feel of the entire story. I really like how they are in the car, and it is really the streetlights giving them the glow. It adds to the story and makes it seem creepier.
In this we can see the Venetian blind effect. I was surprised at how much the effect still worked when the movie was in color. I really like how it plays into it. Whenever I see the blind’s shadow, I think of mystery and detectives, and drama, which seems to be accurate. I was definitely expecting to see this effect used at some point in the movie. It seems to be a theme that works in Noir.
In this screen shot we see how the placement of the actors makes for a tense moment. The way the men are standing outside the door, one facing away, really makes you wonder what is going on. Nicholson and Dunaway look deep in controversy, or at least look to be having an intense moment. As we discovered in the readings, intense moments are a big part of the noir scene. These are critical to the story, and body language also helps to create a sense of thrill.