In a seven-year-old N.Y. Times video essay about Roman Polanski‘s Chinatown, A.O. Scott noted that “evil is elemental” in this 1974 classic. “It’s in the air, in the water.” If this piece had never been composed in 2010 and if Scott had been asked to assess Chinatown today, he would probably avoid this observation. Because this kind of resigned acknowledgment argues strongly with the current mood. Because today’s victims-deserve-payback mindset is that “certain forms of evil, including a particular form that a certain Paris-residing director was jailed for in the mid ’70s, will be rooted out and eradicated, and it’s about time.”
It goes with saying that this classic, Robert Towne-authored film would never be made today for various reasons, but will the time come when Chinatown will be downgraded in the same way that Gone With The Wind has been recently? Because it seems insensitive and a touch heartless by the measure of current consciousness among liberal progressives? Noirish fatalism, the stink of corruption, semi-consensual sexual relations between a father and a daughter, etc. Not a fit in today’s Hollywood culture.