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Los Angeles 1948 private eye Jake Gittes shall convict the client Jake Bermans wife of adultery. But instead of making her a scene like planned, Berman shoots her lover in affect - or was it murder? Gittes is surprised when he learns that the dead was Bermans companion, who now inherits his share of the company. Of course the police doesnt believe it was affect and suspects Gittes too. The dead lovers widow manages to force Gittes into investigating against his own client... The trace leads back to an old case in Chinatown. !! Language English with Swedish Subtitles !!
There's nothing wrong with an idea for a sequel to Chinatown. In fact, screenwriter Robert Towne envisioned a series of Jake Gittes films whose subtext would be the evolution of L.A. from desert to modern metropolis. Unfortunately, The Two Jakes is so misguided, clumsy and overwrought that it destroyed any chances for Gittes to become a franchise.Everything that Polanski did to make Chinatown an elegant homage to film noir while also modernizing it as a genre is missing here. Polanski insisted on removing the voice-over from Chinatown and only using Jerry Goldsmith's score to underline the truly dramatic moments of his film. Here Nicholson's ever present voice-over and non-stop score deflates any drama or suspense by explaining every single nuance of every scene to the audience. The result is that the story and performances, which are quite good, become boring.In Chinatown the character of Gittes was not necessarily a ladies man nor a very good fighter, which was part of his charm - even though he's outclassed and outgunned, he still smirks on. In The Two Jakes every woman in the film throws herself at Gittes and he is now able to defeat younger, well-armed men without breaking a sweat.There is truly a entertaining sequel to Chinatown inside of the The Two Jakes, but you'd have to cut away about an hour's worth of Jack Nicholson's ego to get to it.Trivia - The third film would've been titled either "Gittes vs. Gittes" or "Cloverleaf," and would've taken place in the 60's about Gittes going through a divorce against the backdrop of the construction of the L.A. freeway system. Despite The Two Jakes, I would love to see this film get made, ideally with David Fincher at the helm.
Fortunately for the movie going public, Jack Nicholson got to doanother version of one of his most popular roles as private detectiveJ.J. Gittes in The Two Jakes. It's not as good as Chinatown, few filmsare, but Nicholson is right back in stride as the laconic PhilipMarlowe like private eye from the Raymond Chandler era of fictionaldetectives.In fact repeating their roles from Chinatown besides Nicholson areJames Hong, Joe Mantell, and Perry Lopez. And the plot is acontinuation in many ways of Chinatown and the case that we knew wouldhaunt Nicholson the rest of his days.It's now post World War II in Los Angeles and Nicholson has beenretained by real estate mogul Harvey Keitel whose first name is alsoJake in a divorce matter. He's hoping to catch wife Meg Tilly enflagrato with his partner whom he's been thinking has been two timinghim with his wife. Nicholson keeping up with the times as a goodgumshoe has now the latest recording device and he's got the trystingplace bugged with he and Keitel in the next room.But when at one point Keitel produces a revolver and bursts into thetwo of them and shoots the partner it looks at first like a case ofKeitel acting on the unwritten law. But appearances are quitedeceiving, as deceiving as they were in Chinatown. And a lot of peoplewant that recording of the event Nicholson most of all because it has amention of the child of Faye Dunaway from back in the case he Nicholsonwas involved with in Chinatown.The rest of the film is Nicholson stalling everybody while he tries tofind out just what all this is about. Along the way he meets criminalattorney for Keitel, Eli Wallach, a Mickey Cohen like mobster in RubenBlades, and the widow of Keitel's partner, Madeline Stowe who is readyand willing to make Nicholson an offer he will find it hard to refuse.Nicholson directed himself in this version, taking over for RomanPolanski whom as we know was in exile from the USA back then. He knewhis character well and smoothly continued the saga of J.J. Gittes. Theatmosphere of the Forties Los Angeles is well done. It's mentioned that a third Gittes film was planned. Hopefully thoseplans are not scrapped and we'll get to see Nicholson once again in oneof my favorite roles of his.
It comes as no surprise to learn that this follow-up to Chinatown wasravaged by all manner of funding and directorial crises. It appears tobe a film that is limping, carried to it's conclusion on the shouldersof one or two people. Nicholson is one of these St Christophers of thebig screen but he needs more help than this. The film's story isextremely difficult to follow, an unmodulated trickle of obfuscatedcause and effect and voice-over. Because Nicholson is directing there'snone of the objectivity that gives a rocking tension between episodesand characters - we feel further isolated from the story, entirelydependent on a single perspective. The acting is reasonable but doesn'treally make much of an impact: Keitel as the other Jake and Meg Tillyas his wife are the choicest. This film's greatest triumph is indemonstrating just what a good film Chinatown really is. 3/10
This review is from: The Two Jakes (DVD) China Town is classic; even better than the old mid-20th Century classics because the research and photography take us back to that time period to portray people as they were. For me the story, while good, is just the mechanism that allows a time machine visit.Two Jakes is a continuation taking place in the 50s. The story is just as good, as is the research that went into the costuming, sets and CA sites in which is set the story and characters. I don't know what the critics said about these two movies at the time, but the Two Jakes sequel is just as good as China Town and can stand on it's own if the viewer has not seen the first movie.
Chinatown was a great movie, and I think the screenwriter wastrying to do the same type of thing again, but the editing ordirection wasn't good enough to carry it off. In Chinatown,you don't know what's really going on for the first two-thirdsof the movie (and neither does Jack Nicholson's character), butyou figure out the real story just in time to be blown awayemotionally by the ending. Here, the movie turned out confusingenough that I didn't figure out what was going on until a coupleof hours after I left the theater, which means that the endingdidn't have a chance to affect me viscerally. And from some ofthe reviews I've seen, many people figured out even less than me.
"The Two Jakes" is a Jack Nicholson project released in 1990, a reprisal of his role in the 1974 Roman Polanski picture "Chinatown". In both films, Nicholson (who directed this sequel) plays J.J. Gittes, an LA private eye in the classic sense of the phrase. I found this movie to live up to the original, which is widely considered one of the best American films ever made, despite the controversy over Polanski's personal status as a fugitive in the US for the rape of a young teenager in his private jacuzzi. This act made Polanski the subject of much scorn, but he continued to make films in Europe; his 2002 WWII classic "The Pianist" starring Adrien Brody as a Polish Jew suriving the Holocaust (Polanski himself lived through the war in Poland) was a critically acclaimed Oscar winner, yet Polanski's past caught up with him in 2009 as he was nearly extradicted to the US from Switzerland."Chinatown" seems like Polanski's masterpiece when looked at through the lens of his life, given the fact that his wife Sharon Tate was one of the victims in the infamous Manson murders in 1969. Needless to say, Polanski was quite familiar with the seedy underbelly of LA, and though both Gittes films take place before Polanski's day, the ambience created by Polanski, Nicholson, and screenwriter Robert Towne captures the scandalous yet alluring LA of the 30's and 40's.Both films are from the FDR/Truman era, and are specifically related to the New Deal type utility and land development deals that were often the subject of scandal and crime at the highest levels of society. While many of these projects created alot of jobs and improved the quality of life through reliable sources of electricity and water, there was usually inevitable bloating of contracts and corruption through overly ambitious businesses looking to hit paydirt with a lucrative development scheme. In WWII era LA, things were just beginning to open up, as the construction boom and large scale migration to the West Coast were relatively recent events. This is the world of J.J. Gittes, who gets quite dirty digging through the trash of some of LA's biggest movers and shakers.Even though Nicholson directed the second installment from this world, I found this movie to live up to the original, despite a poor box office showing and mixed critical reception. I really feel that these two movies taken together are in the same league as the first two "Godfather" movies in capturing important people from the WWII generation. The people and places from "The Two Jakes" are in the same world as the beginning of "Godfather Part I", when Tom Hagen visits Hollywood on an errand for Don Corleone on behalf of singer/actor Johnny Fontaine. Even though "The Two Jakes" is not what you would call a straight mob movie, there is a great preformance from Ruben Blades as Mickey Nice (perhaps a nod to LA gangster Mickey Cohen), a friend of Gittes troublesome client, who drags Gittes into another web of corporate corruption, with a suprising connection to Gittes original clients in "Chinatown", the Mulwrays.While "Chinatown" is set in 1938, "The Two Jakes" picks up with many of the same characters a decade later in 1948. The war is over, and Gittes and his police contact Lou Escobar (Perry Lopez) have returned from service abroad. The story begins when Gittes is hired by Jake Berman (Harvey Keitel) to conduct surveillance on his cheating wife, and knowingly doctor a J. Edgar Hoover style audio tape of Berman's wife Kitty and his business parnter Mark Bodine having sex. With Gittes help, Berman overdubbs his voice (Gittes is clearly willing to play dirty), but the actions that follow leave Gittes in a precarious position as an acessory to murder. He is caught in a viscious feud between Berman and his dead partner's widow (played by a sultry Madeline Stowe), with a real estate deal and other industrial contracts on the line.
It's just not Chinatown is all I can really say about, The Two Jakes.Again written by Robert Towne, the screenplay for the Two Jakes, likeChinatown is compelling enough, but Jack Nicholson's directorial debutlacks the creativity of Roman Polanski's. While Polanski strayed awayfrom the typical film noir clichÃ©s this doesn't, which isn'tnecessarily a bad thing but again, it's just very different toChinatown.Nicholson's performance however, is again great and if anything thismovie is a great character study of what has become of Jake Gittes overthe years. This film is smart, and subtle. It's good too, not Chinatowngood but good none the less and for some reason, it still left mewanting more. Cloverleaf - anyone?
The classic hard boiled detective of the fifties is among the mostpopular characters ever created. Guys like, Sam Spade, Mike Hammer andnow J.J. Gitties have become immortalized on the big screen. Ever sinceaudiences watched 'Chinatown' there has been a steady stream of fanmail asking for a sequel. This movie connects the original and iscalled " The Two Jakes. " In this follow up story which dealt withwater rights and was filled with a twisted and scandalous family, isback with an even more confusing signature of who wants, what andwhere. Jack Nicholson not only directs, but also stars as J.J. 'Jake'Gittes, the introspective, but sophisticated Private Eye. Harvey Keitelplays Julius 'Jake' Berman, the rich and futuristic housing developerwho has several schemes with which to grow wealthier, but to secure hiswife's future. Eli Wallach, plays Cotton Weinberger, the high priceattorney. RubÃ©n Blades plays Michael 'Mickey Nice' Weisskopf, who isout to solve problems despite whom it may hurt.Perry Lopez, returns asCaptain Lou Escobar with David Keith as an ambitious Dectective out tonail Gittes. Richard Farnsworth, Earl Rawley, Tracey Walter and JamesHong add to the list of great stars in the movie. Though the story isas deep as a fifties novel, if one pays close attention, the out-comeis inevitable. Seen is this retrospective and the modern problemsarrayed in the future, this dramatic movie should lay the foundationfor the third in the series. All in all, the movie should be listed assecond in a trio of Classic movies for Nicholson. Recommended foranyone who loved the oldies movies with the hard bitten Private eye,spinning a tale. ****
"The Two Jakes" is a fine film. Not just as a mystery, but as a touching second look at J.J. Gittes (Nicholson) years after the events of "Chinatown."Gittes is older, more melancholy, more self-reflexive. And Nicholson gives a touching, conflicted performance which reminds the viewer that he can still play characters who are not insane or homicidal.One of the few sequels that actually works.
This review is from: The Two Jakes (Special Collector's Edition) (DVD) I love this film, it starts beautifully, maintains a great mood, has all it's parts in order, and I wonder how many of you ever noticed the distant car shot that looks likes it's driving up a womans body represented by the hills...It's always about that...no matter what the McGuffin is in a film. Jack is a great director, I seen all the films he directed, and he always struck me as a kind of Huston director...Fresh, and original. It brings out the best, and the artist in him. He is able to stretch beyond his physical limitations and create a total world. Maybe the Two Jakes title never grabbed people...This film has a very special place for me. Original sex scenes, great moods, fresh style...Jack you're a great talent...you work with the best people. Now if you're listening, Jack, see what you can do to get Ironweed on a region 1 DVD. ANd not the crummy release done in 2009 spring... If you see Tom Waits again, tell him Jimmy The Lock is a friend of mine..
I just watched Chinatown for the frst time, then picked this sequal up. Ooops, its just not the same umpph the first had. Don't waste your time.
"... is a much more personal sequel from Jack Nicholson. It could be even considered disappointing, but I thought this was okay."
I really wanted this film to work better than it did. Jack Nicholson'sJake Gittes character from Chinatown deserved a better sequel thanthis, however. That said, Nicholson is still a treat to watch as theresourceful private eye, and he even shows some skill behind thecamera. The cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond is as wonderful as ever.Problems come mostly from the fact that Robert Towne's script can't letgo of too many elements from the original film, and we the audience areleft with one of those "could have been great" films.The story picks up about a decade or so after the events in Chinatown.WWII is now over, and Jake Gittes has become a much more successfulinvestigator, yet he still does the occasional adultery case. In theopening scenes of The Two Jakes, Gittes gets himself involved in onesuch case with deadly consequences. A man we are led to believe is ajealous husband (Keitel) hires Gittes to stake out a motel with himwhere his wife (Tilly) will be meeting her lover. The lover turns outto be Keitel's business partner, and Keitel shoots the man dead! Thisleaves Gittes as a possible accessory to murder! It's up to Gittes toclear his name and figure out if Keitel's fit of anger was just that,or if there are bigger things going on in the background. Well, ofcourse there are! This is a Robert Towne script! Before we're done,we've got the housing industry, the oil industry, and a sex-crazedwidow in the mix, as the story wildly jumps the tracks and eventuallyleads to an explosive conclusion.That plot I have just described actually would have been enough for agreat new film about Jake Gittes. Trouble is, Towne makes the mistakeof digging up elements from Chinatown that seem awfully contrived asthey are woven into the current plot. We learn early on for examplethat Gittes is still haunted by the memory of Faye Dunaway's characterfrom Chinatown. Too much time is wasted digging up memories of her,even at one point having Gittes find her old butler and rehash oldmemories with him. In the last fifteen minutes, we also learn thatKeitel's wife is really Dunaway's daughter from Chinatown. Yes, the oneshe had in an incestuous relationship with her father. This is just toomuch of a contrivance to swallow. There is simply no need to bring theMulwray family back and try to weave them into this story! There areother problems with the story. We are told that Gittes in engaged, butwe never really get to know his fiancÃ©, and she is all but forgottenuntil a scene where she ends the whole affair with him. RichardFarnsworth is introduced as an unscrupulous oil man who may be doinggreat damage to the countryside with his illegal drilling practices.Yet, once this is revealed to us, nothing ever comes of it! I think thefilm probably suffered from too many re-writes. Trouble with Towne is,he knows he's a gifted writer. So he likely feels he needs to makethings needlessly complicated in order to put his name on a script.This film bombed badly in the theaters. this is probably due to thelong production delays as much as anything. Too many people probablyforgot how good Chinatown was to want to go see this film. It's too badthat The Two Jakes keeps trying to remind us.6 of 10 stars.The Hound.
Must have been a very early Nicholson. It was very poor acting throughout.I would not recommend this one at all.
"...there's always plenty more where that came from."This movie was a critical and commercial bust, which was a terrible shame. It was lovingly made, carefully written, and beautifully shot.I guess people are less interested in reality. Here, Jake Gittes has become, arguably, a victim of his own success. His detective business is thriving, he's quite comfortable, drives a great step-down Hudson, and is surfing right over post-World War II malaise. And then the past reaches out to him...One thing: it was intended as the SECOND installment in a trilogy of films about southern California. "Chinatown" was about water, and this one was about oil. The third one was to have been about air...I hope that continued interest in these characters and frameworks will encourage the people behind these two fine movies to go forward with the last part before everybody becomes unavailable...
"The Two Jakes" is the sequel to "Chinatown." Chinatown is one of my favorite films, it's number 19 on AFI's Top 100, it won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Robert Towne. A sequel didn't seem necessary, and it's not, but this somehow managed to work. This movie has the formula for a bad sequel; different plot, different actors, different director. Well, not different actor's...Only one character returns from Chinatown, the plot is semi-related, and Jack Nicholson is the director. He's not bad either. The script is by Robert Towne, which is even more surprising. I can't believe he would be inspired to write a sequel. The Two Jakes was made 16 years after Chinatown (in 1990) and it does take place a significant amount of years later; But Jack is still Jake. Nicholson returns as Jake Gittes, our protagonist who walked away from a death at the end of Chinatown. The events from that movie still plague him, but he still does what he does best...He's a private investigator and frequently investigates what got him caught up in all the trouble from the first movie...Marital infidelity. Gittes is investigating whether Jake Berman's (Harvey Keitel) wife is cheating on him, and she is. When Gittes schedules the confrontation, Jake (the Keitel one) shoots his wife's lover...Who also happens to be his business partner. Now Jake (the Nicholson one) is caught up in another conspiracy, which might be directly linked to his past. If you haven't seen Chinatown, don't see The Two Jakes.There are a few references to the first film in here which people who haven't seen the first one won't get. The Two Jakes is entertaining, smart, occasionally exciting, and this is just one of those character's that Nicholson was born to play. Problem is, it drags in places (and it's 7 minutes longer than Chinatown at 138 minutes). As far as sequels go, however, this is a real winner. If you liked (or loved) Chinatown, then you should check this out...But it's definitely not required watching.GRADE: B+
This review is from: The Two Jakes (DVD) Not a bad film and if you enjoyed the first one you will most likely enjoy this one. It is not the masterpiece that was Polanski s film and it doesn't flow as well. Also there are moments in the film that go against the establshed mood. Some of these moments come off as overly melodramatic to almost borderline camp. The true saving grace and what makes this film worthwhile is Nicholson's performance. Revisiting the role of Jake later in life and to see how much more jaded he is and not nessesarily wiser. This film does tie into the first very directly and that surprised me a bit. It happens early and in a way telegraphs the very ending. But nonetheless it was a fun if uneven journey.
It's taken me years to get around to watching this film - having had it in a Nicholson box set for at least a decade I have finally taken the plunge and am pleased to say I love it to bits. Many negative reviews both here and on other sites put me off for all those years but it shows you - never listen to others, make up your own mindA real classic....
Jack Nicholson's direction in the style of Roman Polanski is a triumph offilm-making. For those of you who do not understand the power strugglesthat have existed in the Los Angeles area for nearly 100 years, it mayseemlike a stretch. But the character portrayals, the locations, and thesituations are so true to form that it would scare most mortals away fromliving here if they really understood how accurate these charactercomposites are. The struggle for land, water, money, and power haveexistedand continue to exist in the Southern California region. Do not ignorethismovie ! Read about the San Francisquito Dam disaster in the 1920's andtheland-power struggles north of Los Angeles and north of the San FernandoValley and this movie will have more meaning (and humor) than you canimagine. If you live here, it's also a very good laugh.
Knowing this Chinatown sequel's detested reputation, I was toointerested in seeing a movie directed by Jack Nicholson to turn away. Iwas surprised to find that it is very under-appreciated. Nicholson isquite an inventive, if a little show-offy, director. His confidenthelming of the very late sequel to a highly revered contemporaryclassic is full of interesting shots and his performance realisticallyportrays an older, wiser Jake Gittes who has been seasoned withphilosophies on the pain and importance of the past.It is not simply on account of Nicholson. Robert Towne's owncontinuation of his predecessor is quite creative. Harvey Keitel playsthe second Jake, who has hired the initial Jake to catch his wifecheating on him red-handed. In the course of the sting, Keitel up andshoots the adulterous lover, who turns out to be his real estatepartner. Nicholson is now under intense scrutiny for his unwitting partin the crime and has to figure out if it was justifiable homicide orstraight murder. The case proceeds to elude to California's booming oilindustry as well as his own past after he stumbles upon a wirerecording during the investigation that mentions the daughter of FayeDunaway's ill-fated character in the last film.The Two Jakes, to me, can stand on its own with Chinatown. Polanskidirected the first film much much differently than Nicholson addressesthis follow-up. I don't believe in the case of Chinatown a sequel needsto be a comparable continuation. Making a second installment sixteenyears later allows a lot of license for it to be its own beast. Somesuch sequels done that way are disasters. The Two Jakes stays afloat.And Madeleine Stowe remains the most insatiably attractive woman of anysuperlative comment that I've made within the past month, at least. AndI've made a lot.The film's theatrical trailer is actually incredible. It's narrated byGittes, telling us how the war was good for Los Angeles in so manydifferent ways that contribute to his business, as extremely dry bitsof humor throughout the film punctuate it here and there andprovocative, often voyeuristic shots from the movie are included.