CRITICAL essay about film Example

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Critical Essay on the use of Thematic and Stylistic Devices in Chinatown

Thematic device is a term used to describe elements of a movie that do not necessarily fit into the past category of elements such as violence and drug use, but have some degree of agitator behavior. Chinatown is a detective film with an investigative organization; Halloran (116) notes that Chinatown is a story with the intention of showing that wrong can ultimately be exposed. Not only will the seeker of the truth in such cases make matters worse but also they will not be able to able right the wrongs. The Chinatown is widely recognized as the origin of neo-noir films. Film noir is defined as those movies that use low-key visual style as compared to the bright, balanced studio look of the 1930s (Conrad 7). Chinatown uses various thematic devices and stylistics devices to achieve its purpose as a neo-noir film. This paper will critically analyze these devices by giving examples of where the devices have been used.

The first thematic device use by the Chinatown Film is using an anti-hero protagonist character; in the films case this character is Gittes. Gittes is a private investigator that is hired by Evelyn to keep watch of her husband, Mulwray. This kind of character is usually good but often makes questionable choices. The view of the use of this thematic device is supported by Gilmore (132) who notes that Chinatown has an arrangement that is very alike to that of a prehistoric Greek misfortune. It began with Gittes, a man who is essentially good, but inconsistent. A man who is in a position of some authority and influence, but is forced to find out the limits of his authority and power on this planet, and it ends with appalling revelations.

The first decision that Gittes makes that raises questions is when he discovers that he had not been hired by Mulwray real wife he does not seek to have impersonator arrested. In addition, Gittes knowingly sleeps with Evelyn although she is someone’s wife. This happens when there is an ongoing investigation into the murder of Mulwray, who is Evelyn’s late husband. Furthermore, Gittes plans for Evelyn and Katherine to escape even though he knows that Evelyn is wanted for interrogation in association with her husband’s murder (YouTube).

The other thematic device used is the use of crime violence as social criticism. This thematic device is widely used in the film Chinatown. The first instance is what Mulwray is found murdered by Lieutenant Escobar. Moreover, where Polanski and Jenson attack Gittes portray this thematic device more. In the last part of the film, police also shoot at Evelyn (YouTube). Conrad (2) also notes that the other thematic device used by neo-noir films is the disorientation of the viewer. Niemeyer (128) notes that the film is disorienting to the viewer because for long periods during the movie Polanski does not make it apparent what is factual. Moreover what Carol has been thinking is not shown to the viewer.

As Conrad (2) suggests, the third thematic device is used to bring about the use of various stylistic devices. The first stylistic device used by Chinatown is placement of characters in rather uncomfortable and positions within shots. In the Chinatown, for example, this stylistic device is brought out by two characters, that is, Gittes and Evelyn. The first instance is what the two, have to help each other in nursing wounds. Moreover, Evelyn reveals that Katherine is her daughter whom she sired with her father. This puts Gittes in an awkward position since he had also slept with Evelyn. The other stylistic device used by the film is characters whose actions are not motivated, for example, Ida hires Gittes to investigate Mulwray although Mulwray is not her husband. Besides, the other stylistic device that is brought out in the film Chinatown is the use of oblique camera angles. For example, Conrad (1) notes that the use of oblique camera angles in Chinatown was meant to disorient the viewer. This device is presented in the film by use of themes such as alienation.

Works Cited

Conard, Mark T. The Philosophy of Film Noir. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2006. Print.

Conard, Mark T. The Philosophy of Neo-Noir. Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, 2007. Print.

Conard, Mark T. The Philosophy of the Coen Brothers. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2009. Print.

Niemeyer, Paul J. Seeing Hardy: Film And Television Adaptations Of The Fiction Of Thomas Hardy. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2003. Print.

O’Halloran, Kay L. Multimodal Discourse Analysis: Systemic Functional Perspectives. London: Continuum, 2004. Print.

‘Chinatown.’ N.P., 2012. Web. 3 Feb. 2015.

Gilmore, Richard. “The Dark Sublimity of Chinatown.” Lexington, KY: UP of Kentucky, 2006. 119-136. Print.