|This poster, aside from tweaking Leonardo DaVinci, gives an idea|
of the many wonderful cameos in Inherent Vice. Martin Short
(far right) is particularly funny and strange.
It's the story of "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) a hippie P.I. who is hired to find a missing girl who also happens to be his ex. thus begins Doc's strange journey through 1970 Los Angeles-- both helped and hindered by Detective "Bigfoot" Bjornsen (Josh Brolin), a flat-topped, hippie-hating, brutal/delusional LA cop who also carries a SAG card (we see him as an extra in "Adam-12," in fact). On the long, winding path of investigation Doc encounters all sorts of odd and historically appropriate types: Nazi bikers, cultists, a Laurel Canyon mansion full of hippies, a hidden cabal of dentists and drugs. Lots and lots and lots of drugs. River Phoenix does an amazing job, in fact, of conveying an amazing range of stoned: mellow high, totally baked, buzzed, flying' and everything in-between.
|"Doc" Sportello (River Phoenix), doing what he does|
dozens of times in the film.
This is the first Thomas Pynchon book ever committed to film, and the script was apparently personally approved by Pynchon as well. Thomas Pynchon and Paul Thomas Anderson were made for each other-- their mutual approach to storytelling is spacey and convoluted yet brimming with insight. Inherent Vice perfectly embodies a lot of Pynchon's favorite motifs: Los Angeles, complex whodunits, subtle mysticism and conspiracies by shadowy, powerful organizations. The 2009 book was considered considered "Pynchon Lite," one of his most accessible novels. If this is so, than the movie version is an even better introduction to his distinctive literary style. Pynchon 101.
|Thomas Pynchon, as seen on "The Simpsons." According|
to Josh Brolin, the reclusive author has a cameo in
Inherent Vice. Forget it: we'll never figure it out.
Inherent Vice is also very funny-- which is sort of unusual. P.T. Anderson doesn't really do funny: There was some situational comedy in Boogie Nights, and Punch Drunk Love was supposed to be funny (it wasn't), but this is the first time he stretches out for some Coen Brothers-style sardonic humor.
Check it out, you'll enjoy it. See it high, and you might enjoy it even more.