Chinatown

Inciting Event: J. J. “Jake” Gittes has been hired by a woman identifying herself as Mrs. Mulwray to find out if her husband, the well known Hollis I. Mulwray who is the chief engineer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, was cheating on her. He soon discovers when the real Mrs. Evelyn Mulwray threatens to file a lawsuit against him that his client wasn’t Mr. Mulwray’s real wife and he’s been setup.

First Plot Point: Realizing the only reason for the setup is because someone is trying to get to Mr. Mulwray for opposing the building of a new reservoir, Jake attempts to find Mr. Mulwray to settle the misunderstanding, but, he is unable to locate him until Lieutenant Lou Escobar drags Mr. Mulwray’s dead body out of the reservoir. It looks like it was an accident or suicide.

First Pinch Point: Jake doesn’t believe it was an accident or suicide. He learns that someone is dumping water into the ocean while there’s a drought going on and thinks that because Mr. Mulwray found out, he was murdered. Jake gets shot at and a guy cuts his nose as a warning to back off.

Midpoint: Further investigation reveals most of the orange grove valley lots were sold over the last few months. Jake discovers the farmers have been harassed and are being pressured to sell. Jake also visits Noah Cross who is Evelyn Mulwray’s father and gets hired to find Mr. Mulwray’s girlfriend. She is the supposed reason Mr. Mulwray would have taken his own life. Cross desires to talk to the girl.

Second Pinch Point: Jake and Evelyn investigate the new owners of the land and stumble into the con they’ve been looking to find. It’s a group of elderly people in a home that are being generously taken care of by a company Mr. Cross owns. Guards attempt to kill Jake but he narrowly gets away.

Third Plot Point: Jake learns Evelyn Mulwray was molested and impregnated by her father at the age of fifteen. Afterwards she opted to run to Mexico where Hollis Mulwray chased after her to take care of her. Mr. Mulwray’s girlfriend was in fact his wife’s daughter/sister. Yeah, I definitely didn’t see that coming.

Climax: Jake realizes Noah Cross killed Mr. Mulwray so he sets up his own con to trick Mr. Cross into confessing. Mr. Cross admits to it, then forces Jake to bring Cross to Chinatown where Evelyn and her sister/daughter is waiting to leave for Mexico. Jake’s partners were supposed to be there but the cops found them and were ready to bring Jake in for extortion and withholding evidence. This would leave Mr. Cross free to go after his daughter, which he does. But Evelyn pulls out a gun and tells him to back away. Mr. Cross tells her she’ll have to kill him so she shoots her father in the arm and drives away with her daughter.

Climactic Moment: The cops react to Evelyn shooting her father by gunning her down as she tries to get away.

Resolution: Mr. Cross pulls his daughter away from the scene making us believe he’s going to get away with it. Jake is in shock so Lou tells him to go home. Unmoving, his partners pull him away from the shooting. One partner says, “Let it go Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

(Submitted by Kurt Petrey.)

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