Well, that was really a waste of my time..
The only film I ever walked out of. This movie broke me. I feel violated. I almost feel offended by how bad this is.
I still don`t understand how can this movie be so boring with so many great actors in it, but it is. So boring.
Joaquin Phoenix plays a PI in a 70s California beach down, given three separate cases to investigate. He attempts to do so through a haze of drugs, and as he starts to get a grip on his work he begins to lose his grip on reality.
Forget the synopsis though. You just have to sit back and drink it all in. The biggest trick Anderson manages to pull here is making a film that perhaps doesn’t ‘make sense’ at first viewing, but isn’t frustrating or difficult to watch.
Everything about Inherent Vice suckered me right in. The hazy, smoke-filled cinematography, the writing, the music, the odd but hilarious sense of humour, the neo-noir plot that slowly falls to bits… it all kept me glued to the screen and as the credits rolled I only wanted to press play again.
Inherent Vice may be divisive, but it’s without a doubt one of the most beautiful and original films of the last few years.
This movie is a curious case. It is a Paul Thomas Anderson film, with that given fact you would think this movie would be on par with it's hype, if not surpassing it. Being a project developed by PTA, of course it has a stacked cast of versatile actors and unique cameos.
With all of the big names attached it ended up coming out quite flat, with a storyline that almost seems at times to be non-existent.
There were a few different elements that dragged this movie down a few notches mostly in the fact that this movie was lacking the action, causing it to seem a bit dragged out. This aside the dialogue had a strong sense of realism and had a few witty jokes/statements carefully positioned throughout. Although the writing is rather complex, if there had been better pacing and an overall stronger sense of story, this could have been so much more.
The performances from the main characters, especially that of Joquain Phoenix was a sight to see. The impressive acting in turn, helps to perfectly capture the era of 1970's Los Angeles and the infamous hippie movement that followed along with it.
Overall this movie didn't quite live up to the hype, due to a dull script, which at times is a little hard to follow. With its exceptionally capable cast and crew, it is worth a watch just strictly out of curiosity if anything.
If you are looking for a clear cut crime caper that you can follow from beginning to end this really is not that film. At times hard to follow and bit ‘wacky’ it is presented perfectly if you look at it as the drug fuelled reminiscing of Doc.
Frankly I like the style and after the film started I thought I was going to settle into another Paul Thomas Anderson film but equally a frankly I have to admit that the story sagged in the middle, another to let my attention wander, before thankfully it picked up again and came to a satisfactory if not slightly confusing end.
The plotline which should be simple to follow, proves to be more difficult than you imagine and the viewer has to quickly establish whether half of the events take place in Doc’s mind or are real. Thankfully there is no definitive answer so it really is left to you.
The acting is first rate from beginning to end with Joaquin Phoenix hitting the right note as a whacked-out stoner who is not quite as whacked-out as you think, likewise Josh Brolin is note perfect as straight-laced Bigfoot but there is more to him that meets the eye too.
It is nuances like this brought to life by the actors involved that make this film a cut above others of the same type. Without the acting and Anderson at the helm this could easily have been irritating to the nth degree.
Phoenix’s portrayal of Doc actually makes him a likeable character who you invest in as he stumbles his way from situation to situation without being violent, apart from one desperate instance, stupid or horrible. He is double-crossed, treated like crap by the LAPD, but still ploughs on and the longer the film goes on the more you side with him.
Ably supported by the perfectly cast Josh Brolin and Katherine Waterson, the film also boasts a myriad of ‘star cameos’ that in other circumstances could distract or annoy you but I found them entertaining and not distracting in any way.
It is shame that the film, like so many before it and to come, is just twenty minutes to half an hour too long. The middle section drags the film down like coming down from a drug high perhaps?
Overall the story is pitched perfectly, if a little confusing at times, but it does ask questions and give you something to think about as it flip-flops along. As far as I can tell the setting of California in the 1970s has been captured perfectly by Anderson, again. The casting is strong with actors playing the roles both in broad and sometimes comic strokes but yet still imbued with believability.
If you are patient and have do not mind some meandering in your film-viewing, then this film could be for you. If you are a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson and Joaquin Phoenix then you definitely will not be disappointed.