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Thematic And Stylistic Devices In Neo Noir Film, Chinatown

871 words - 3 pages

While there are many different ways to classify a Neo-noir film, Roman Polanski’s, Chinatown captures many. The 1974 movie consists of many of these elements, including both thematic and stylistic devices. One of the main themes of neo-noir film that is constant throughout the film is the deceptive plot that questions the viewers’ ideas and perceptions of what is actually happening in the film. Every scene of Chinatown leads to a twist or another turn that challenges the practicability of the film’s reality. All of the never-ending surprises and revelations lead up to the significant themes the movie is trying to convey in the conclusion of the film.
The first thematic device is clearly displayed throughout the narrative of the film. The main plot of the movie of the movie revolves around the mysterious murder of Hollis Mulwray and the obstacles that Detective Jake Gittes has to overcome in order to discover who was behind the assassination. We learn a great deal about Detective Gittes, as he is the story’s anti-hero protagonist. In the beginning of the film he appears to be doing rather well. He often refers to “what happened in Chinatown” but doesn’t overtake him. He makes decent money and his business is successful. Jake Gittes is considered as a thematic device, as he is essentially a good man; however some of his actions are morally questionable. For example, he is hired by Mrs. Mulwray to solve her husband’s murder, and then he sleeps with her. Also another debatable action concerning Mrs. Mulwray, is when he physically hits her when he believes she is being untruthful about Katherine’s accurate identity. Overall Chinatown shows the decline of Detective Gittes regardless of his genuine and strong-minded efforts to do the right thing.
While Detective Gittes attempts to unravel the homicide mystery, there are many counter actions that oppose what the viewer believes to be true. This thematic device makes viewers question their own perceptions of what is assumed to be happening. Opening the movie, Detective Gittes meets with who is understood to be Mrs. Mulwray, however, it is later discovered she is a fraud, assisting whoever is essentially trying to murder Mr. Mulwray. This displays another thematic device, the disorientation of the viewer. When the Gittes attempts to warn Hollis Mulwray, he is found already dead and soon after the actual Mrs. Mulwray, Evelyn, is introduced. This astonishment instantly changes the standpoint of the viewer from the beginning of the film. Detective Gittes is constantly suspicious of Evelyn and supposed that she was the alleged murderer. This use of unconventional narrative patterns that...

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