"You may think you know what you're dealing with, but believe me, you don't." So it goes in this classic '70s collision between Roman Polanski and writer Robert Towne, who grind a bitter, subversive gumshoe heel into '40s noir.
It begins jovially, as dirt-digging 'tec Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) uncovers a water-rights scandal. But he soon topples through layers of deception and corruption into ever-deepening rivers of moral sickness. John Huston and Faye Dunaway provide unforgettable support, but this is Nicholson's show: a doomed spectator stumbling helplessly into the parched, black soul of this LA mystery. Sometimes darkness can dazzle.