How Does The Film Chinatown Endeavour To Alter The Hard Boiled Detective Genre, Give A Brief Discription.

843 words - 3 pages

The hard boiled detective subgenre has spawned many a film to have come out of Hollywood. Following a basic formula, the genre lives up to the expectations of the audience, while using the themes of crime and consequent justice. Unlike many hard boiled detective films of the noir persuasion, Chinatown isn't afraid to play with its constructed conventions. The story takes place in Los Angeles, California during the 1930's. The mood of the film is typical of that of a detective story, and the gradual discovery of clues completes the film's mysterious atmosphere. Appealing to a greater audience with its basic characteristics of the hard boiled genre, Chinatown at first follows the detective myth, however Director Roman Polanski soon deviates from the typical hard boiled detective story line.Polanski's decision to shoot Chinatown in colour deviates from the common belief that a noir film must be shot in black and white. To many the idea of a "colour noir" seems contradictory, however Chinatown proves that noir films are rather a state of mind and don't require black and white shadows to have a foreboding presence. Instead Polanski find other ways of creating a sinister ominous atmosphere. Many of the scenes in the film that are set in the city are dimly lit and to have a dark and ominous feel to them. Alternately those filmed outside of the city are well lit and include bright and bold colours. This is used to further accentuate the corruption and despair certain characters experience during particular scenes in the film.The characteristics the film evokes of the hard boiled genre are paralleled throughout the film with the director's views of hopelessness against such a corrupt evil. He strives to demythologize the audiences pre conceived views of the hard boiled detective genre. Polanski cameo role in the film serves as an insight into his efforts to disturb and alter the conventions of this hard boiled detective film. Playing an 'evil midget' he physically cuts up the hero of the films nose, showing the audience that he is not immortal, the bandage he requires as a result of the attack serves as a reminder of this throughout the film.The traditional characteristics of the hard boiled genre that Chinatown uses are altered by Polanski to show the audience that such characteristics are no more than a myth in everyday life. Cawelti notes that the movie is a strong example of how traditional myth crumbles with the presence of a greater evil. The myth of a detective story is one that...

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