The plot follows two individuals who contact a third man, Chan Hung, in order to obtain a taxicab license. Chan, on the other hand, vanishes with their money at the start of the film.
The search for Chan is carried out by speaking with a variety of people in Chinatown, all of whom have different impressions and memories of the man. While the money is eventually returned, Chan continues to be unaccounted for, leading the two men to believe he is a mystery.
The bilingual component of this picture is one of its distinctive characteristics, as the Chinese speech was originally not subtitled. Wang’s choice to not provide subtitles stems from his assumption that the viewers would be capable of understanding the scene’s mood based on tone and movements without understanding the dialogue’s content.
This enabled non-Chinese speakers to concentrate more on the visual pictures rather than the film’s contents. Another subject is the diversity of Asian American personalities, which has never been portrayed in American films before. Chan’s character, whom no one has met and who no one completely understands, exemplifies this diversity.
Every person in Chinatown has a different opinion of him. Rather than being a distinct personality with ambiguous characteristics, he symbolizes Chinatown as a whole, demonstrating to the viewer that the Chinatown society is capable of possessing all of the characteristics mentioned earlier and more.