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Inherent Vice – Review


Release Date: 9 January 2015 [USA]
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson [Screenplay] - Thomas Pynchon [Novel]
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix - Josh Brolin - Owen Wilson



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6 total ratings


Posted March 8, 2015 by

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Inherent Vice Review:

It was really awkward for me to hear about a new Paul Thomas Anderson movie, released during the Oscars season, and realizing that it was almost not nominated for anything : Best Adapted Scenario and Best costumes, and that’s it. That doesn’t look like the P. T. Anderson that I used to know ! What could have possibly gone wrong ?

The casting ? Certainly not. Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Jena Malone, Benicio Del Toro, Maya Rudolph, Eric Roberts, Katherine Waterston, Michael K. Williams… and many more ! As wide and dense as it sounds, each and every actor is damn perfect, Joaquin Phoenix on top of everybody else.

The story ? Eh, maybe. The adaptation of any Thomas Pynchon’s book seems like a bumpy ride, given Pynchon’s taste for absurd within his stories. ‘Inherent Vice’ tells us about Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello, P.I., trying to help his ex-girlfriend Shasta finding back her billionaire of a boyfriend, Michael Z. Wolfmann. Although Michael is protected by an army of the Aryan Brotherhood, it is possible that his wife and her lover were scheming to make Michael disappear. Touched by Shasta’s concerns, Doc begins his investigation, running from informers to police officers, from cult members to weird pseudo-nazi doctors. Each encounter leads to another clue, each clue leads to another excuse to score dope, Doc being a true hippie, as would so frequently remind him Christian ‘Bigfoot’ Bjornsen, his contact at the LAPD. In fewer words, the whole plot shows us the many topics that were common practices during the Californian seventies.

The direction then ? Come on, it’s Paul Thomas Anderson we’re talking about here… Well, the movie is clearly directed by P. T. Anderson, it’s so obvious that I still have this feeling he actually didn’t bothered to try anything “new” for this piece. Maybe that’s why the critics didn’t enjoyed ‘Inherent Vice’ as much as it would have been expected. However, I’ve noticed the many intentions to give the film a proper “seventies” taste, through the quality of the pictures, the framing, the editing, the colors…

The ambiance ? Well, if you’re not into the seventies groove, you will be bored, that’s for sure. But if you miss this time, if you miss wearing flip-flops and sideburns at work and straw hats in the streets, if you love the music from back then, you will enjoy this movie. It’s actually worth noticing that I’ve never laughed that much watching a P. T. Anderson movie : the scene where Josh Brolin eats an entire platter of weed gives a clue of the sweet craziness surrounding the characters.

I don’t know why ‘Inherent Vice’ was not that much appreciated, but then again, the Oscars competition was fierce for this 2015 brew. It’s a legitimate P. T. Anderson’s product, a legitimate tribute to the seventies, a complicated but crazy investigation, so what would you have more ? If you, faithful reader, have a clue, please enlighten us ! In the meantime, I’ll fetch my straw hat and my flip-flops, before going back to work…


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Theo Tessa
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