Like the Thomas Pynchon novel it's based on, this film remains infuriatingly evasive as its central mystery deepens. Also like Pynchon, writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson is more interested in characters than plot, expertly orchestrating a lively cast in a series of raucous scenes. That these moments never quite add up to a coherent bigger story may feel unsatisfying, but the groovy 1970s vibe is infectious, and there's a lot of fun to be had in watching these actors play around with the rambling dialogue and nutty interaction.
It's set in 1970 Los Angeles, where private investigator Doc (Joaquin Phoenix) is a stoner who'd rather not work at all. Then he agrees to help his ex-girlfriend Shasta (Katherine Waterston) find her missing property developer boyfriend Mickey (Eric Roberts). But this immediately puts him on a collision course with his long-time nemesis, Detective Bjornsen (James Brolin), a frozen-banana loving tough-guy cop known as Bigfoot. And the deeper Doc gets into the case, the more confusing it gets. Not only is the presumed-dead Coy (Owen Wilson) very much alive, but it's unclear whether a key clue about Golden Fang refers to a boat or a secret dental society. And suspiciously, Doc's DA friend Penny (Reese Witherspoon) always seems to be one step ahead of him on the case.
Anderson opens the film with a blinding flood of information and then simply never allows us to catch up, so like Doc we can't quite get a grip on what's actually going on. This effectively makes us feel as stoned as he is, bewildered by the way even the simplest revelations seem to contradict each other. But even as everything gets increasingly confusing, Anderson writes and directs scenes with a vivid intensity that's both hilariously entertaining and darkly involving. Each sequence carries a powerful punch, giving the superb cast plenty of quirky details to work with.
Continue reading: Inherent Vice Review
Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is a simple man. When he's not abusing illicit substances, he's solving crimes as a private investigator - although those two do sometimes overlap. But as the 1960s breath their dying breath, Doc's life is going to get perhaps a little too interesting for his liking. When his ex-girlfriend shows up one day, Doc finds himself unable to stay unintegrated with the 70s, as his new employer and former lover has him tracking down her new boyfriend and trying to thwart the plans of his wife and HER boyfriend. And if that wasn't complicated enough for him, there's something to do with a mysterious 'Golden Fang'. It's gonna be one hell of a decade.
Continue: Inherent Vice - Extended Trailer
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is a private investigator living in Los Angeles during the tail end of the 1960s. When his ex-girlfriend, Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterston) reappears one day, she drags him into a complex series of events which will shatter his calm and quite life, and force him into a dangerously hilarious game involving murderous loan sharks, surfers, hustlers, dopers and the mysterious 'Golden Fang'. Her request, such as it is, is to help her new boyfriend, Mickey Wolfmann (Eric Roberts) from a plot by his wife Sloane (Serena Scott Thomas) and her boyfriend which will send Wolfmaan to the 'loony bin'. As if that wasn't complex enough, things are only going to get worse for Sportello, as the 70s are fast approaching and ready to turn his life upside down.
Continue: Inherent Vice Trailer
Like the Thomas Pynchon novel it's based on, this film remains infuriatingly evasive as its...
Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is a simple man. When he's not abusing illicit substances,...