Studio: Warner Bros.
Reviewed by: Jordan C.
Inherent Vice is a throwback to offbeat ’90s cinema like The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction, and Jackie Brown. It’s a seventies period piece full of weirdness… or fear and loathing as Hunter S. would say.
This film is directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the man behind such great films as There Will Be Blood, The Master, Punch-Drunk Love, and Magnolia. He once again utilizes Joaquin Phoenix as his leading man, but in a very different role than in The Master. Here he plays Larry “Doc” Sportello, hippie P.I. and there is a very strange conspiracy going on in early ‘70s L.A. that Doc is determined to get to the bottom of… which seems to go right to the top of government and high society. Based on a novel by Thomas Pynchon, this movie takes a tour through the oddities Los Angeles sprouted during the psychedelic era.
Phoenix was spot-on for the role of the weed-addled Doc, and the supporting cast were great fits as well. The best were Josh Brolin as tough but strange cop Det. Christian F. “Big Foot” Bjornsen and Martin Short as slimy, coked-out dental surgeon Dr. Rudy Blatnoyd. Much props to Benicio Del Toro, Maya Rudolph, Owen Wilson, Jena Malone, and Eric Roberts too… even when their appearances were short, they didn’t seem frivolous or just for the sake of a having another name on the poster.
My only gripe here is the length. I don’t want to say it drags on, but it is long-winded. This movie is about the ride not the destination, so the ride should be a roller coaster and over just as quickly.
If you’ve been missing that young Tarantino/early Coen Bros./Elmore Lenard adaptation vibe, Inherent Vice has got what you need.