Review: Inherent Vice
Ethan Scott | On 01, Apr 2015
A Thomas Pynchon adaptation, served up by P.T. Anderson, and with all the flavour of The Naked Gun.
Itâ€™s a psychedelic and paranoid conclusion to the 1960â€™s, a vivid and concise world with all the charm of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights. Larry “Doc” Sportello, a hippie-come-Private Investigator (Joaquin Phoenix), is visited unexpectedly by an estranged ex-girlfriend who is tangled in a plot to sabotage her billionaire-development boyfriend, with the help of his wife and her new boytoy. The particulars become even cloudier as the involvement of the FBI, the local police force, and a mysterious entity known as ‘the Golden Claw’ are dragged into the mix.
Itâ€™s a convoluted (but intentionally-so) storyline that will either enthrall or affront the average viewer.
â€œI donâ€™t know how Iâ€™d react to this movie if I hadnâ€™t made itâ€¦I think youâ€™re meant to go through it like Doc. You meet one character who gives you a massive amount of information, then meeting someone else who just contradicts that, then meeting someone else who verifies the contradiction, while in fact reinforcing the first thing you heard. It gets you into a paranoid frenzyâ€ said P.T. Anderson in an interview with Vice.
Itâ€™s this very real sense of paranoia that is often unfamiliar in modern cinema. Thereâ€™s something thrilling about allowing yourself to fall down this rabbit-hole of confusion, misunderstanding, changing-truths and mistrust, given how focused most modern cinema is on never letting the audience slip away. While many people will find this disruptive and frustrating, an equal part will surely find great enjoyment in allowing the noise to simply wash over them.
It feels as though Anderson is trying to take on The Naked Gun or Flying High. This ode to Leslie Nielson comedy is gratifying, and very well served by its illusive and roundabout plot. Though it makes its share of failed jokes, the overall tone of intelligent immaturity wins out.
Thereâ€™s also something to be said about the physical comedy of the film that Anderson has handled so well. Doc is treated as a ragdoll, and its Joaquin Phoenixâ€™s aptitude as an actor that grounds the absurdity of it. Heâ€™s knocked around and knocked out innumerable times, helping carve out the fluidity of Doc Sportello; flowing through the various absurdist characters and plots unfazed.
â€œI do get hung up sometimes on trying to follow what the people are saying in some movies, and Iâ€™m never any good at it. I normally just give up and wait till the next pretty girl shows up, or the next funny thing happens, or the next chase scene happens.â€ â€“ P.T. Anderson
P.T Anderson’s latest work strikes a different tone from many of his more recent features, but it is a stride made with strong intent and even stronger talent. Inherent Vice may be incongruent and trivial at times, but its manic deconstruction of spoof-comedy, the dying 60’s, conspiracy theories and crime-films conures an irresistable magnetism that fans of Leslie Nielson will relish.
Inherent Vice is a lesson in the complexity of banality, and the insignificance of complexity. With a closed mind and an open sense of humor you will thoroughly enjoy Anderson and Thomas Pynchon’s spiritual collaboration.
All images courtesy of the official marketing material.
What Inherent Vice (P.T. Anderson)
When Currently in cinemas
More Information At the official website here. http://inherentvicemovie.com/