Monday, June 11, 2018

On Dangerous Ground: Chinatown, Criss Cross

“Ontology! I’m just
  telling you a story
  about this projector, that’s all.”

                               Edward Dorn, Gunslinger, Book II

Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)

The way it was, or might have been, the sun
shining except when it doesn't. But, this time
it's personal. Her death, just around the corner. 
The politics, water by any means necessary. 
Blood flowing, through incest or municipal 
corruption. A revisionist perspective, California 
rich, but still nouveau, at least compared to 
assorted Eastern counterparts. Pro-bono 
private-eye, his nose, you know how it is, where 
it hasn’t been since the days of wine, roses, 
drought and manufactured consent. Sliced nicely 
for his troubles. His real boss deliberating on two 
years, statutory rape, not unlike Cross, riding
the white line between ethos and pathos, invariably 
as clear as night. Saying, most people never have 
to face the right time or place... About as close to 
the bone as the cutting room allows. Yes, Jake, it's
Anywhere, and always something to think about. 

Criss Cross (Robert Siodmak, 1949)

Not yet the meanest battle, Bunker 
Hill back then was the world, and 
Angel’s Flight a means of escape, 
from the war, or the road. Coincident 
aerial shots of what no longer exists: 
It's in the cards, fate, jinx or whatever.
Those headlights, and furtive parking 
lot embrace. Mirrored dance-hallers, 
clocking each other, knowing crime 
will soon be their song. Burt coos, 
it’ll be just you and me. Her smell, 
wafting double-entendres, deadlier 
than the double-cross, more insidious
than the criss cross. But remnants matter. 
If lucky or smart, they might even beat 
the odds. A lone survivor or future 
politician, not realising no one is 
hard enough to take it to the bank.

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