|Classic noir, though filmed in color long after the days of that genre, where a simple adultery case reveals bigger issues of water rights, family skeletons and the corruption of, well, everything. A nearly perfect film that still rings true today - water rights is still a huge issue in California, and the rich and powerful are still corrupt (though perhaps putting less effort into keeping it hidden).|
This is the film that cemented Nicholson's stardom, and probably should have won the best Picture Oscar for 1974 (it lost to The Godfather Part II). At least it won Best Screenplay, which it definitely deserved.
Followed by a rather pedestrian sequel, directed by Nicholson, The Two Jakes (1990).