Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice is a stoner crime caper that will make you laugh like a drain and possibly confuse the hell out of you..but in the best way.
The labyrinthine plot starts with Shasta, an ex-girlfriend of Doc’s showing up unexpectedly at his place, she tells him that she’s having an affair with a married man but this man’s wife and her lover are plotting to have the guy thrown into a lunatic asylum so they can pocket his money and they want her in on the con. She is the femme fatale in this neo noir set in 70’s California, she kicks the film off then disappears leaving chaos in her wake.
This is only the beginning, in the next 2 and a half hours the story takes Doc through some crazy shenanigans, fuelled by a never ending supply of weed.
Joaquin Phoenix plays the lead, Larry “Doc” Sportello, a private investigator who seems to spend more time smoking weed than he does investigating but he’s an endearing character. A little spaced out, but committed to helping the people he meets.
Josh Brolin steals a little of Phoenix’s thunder as LAPD detective “Bigfoot” Bjornsen, his hatred for hippies, his obsession with chocolate bananas and deep need for respect in stark contrast to the easy going Doc. Joining Brolin are Reece Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro and Maya Rudolph.
Inherent Vice wouldn’t look out of place in a line up along side Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or The Long Goodbye it is at times ridiculous as it is sincere. Films like this tend to have a reputation as difficult to follow, throw in some scenes which are possibly hallucinations and you have yourself something that can go either way. It either infuriates or you go with the flow. I would recommend that you just sit back and let the film wash over you.
Inherent Vice is released in cinemas on the 30th of January.