Cert: 15 Runtime: 149 mins Director: Paul Thomas Anderson Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Jena Malone, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterstone and Martin Short
Chotto, Kenichiro, Dozo! Motto panukeiku… motto panukeiku! MOTTO PANUKEIKU!
Paul Thomas Anderson is a names that sells me a movie any time. Not a real awards contender but I can’t imagine he cares that much. Inherent Vice seems very old Hollywood with a tale and journey of words, seems interesting and tantalizing. What is Inherent Vice about? At the tail end of the sixties, Californian private eye Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is approached by old girlfriend Shasta (Katherine Waterston). She wants him to investigate a plot to have her billionaire land developer lover sectioned. Our befuddled hero soon finds himself swept up in a case that he can never hope to understand, involving Nazis, surfers, cops, hustlers, rockers and a mysterious organisation known as the Golden Fang!
First of all I don’t hate this film but it’s not Paul Thomas Anderson’s best film! But I feel like you need to re-watch it to get the real feel of the film (which I did!) Inherent Vice starts off incredibly well, piling on visual gags and a crazed narrative that’s hazy like a drug fever dream, but it runs out of steam and has a running time that just can’t support this material. For about an hour and a half the film is quite inspired, as our perpetually stoned lead gets sucked into a labyrinth plot and one bizarre and usually fantastic character after another is thrown at this drug addled mess. The film continues at least an hour well beyond what this narrative can sustain. The pacing is off, the plot just feels deliberately muddled and while there are still plenty of jokes, the film just feels labored and exhausted after a while. Paul Thomas Anderson just didn’t know when to quit on this one. It’s still a wonderfully crafted film, he may not have pulled off the film completely. It’s always a pleasure to see a director continue to make bold and challenging work. The film is usually episodic and feels mostly disconnected on a scene to scene basis and there really isn’t a scene that doesn’t work, but PT Anderson didn’t exactly make enough disciplined editing choices to shape the film and trim it down.
This is a great cast ensemble piece, Joaquin Phoenix is on great form and Doc is another. He is very quirky but such a deep character, I imagine Phoenix relates to Doc quite a lot. Josh Brolin owns the stage with his ruthless and foul mouthed character. He does stands out and a good career high for him. It might be his finest outing yet, and something that should but won’t ring him some much deserved awards attention. Katherine Waterston will be on the tongues of many for years to come. You’ll find an enigmatic character with an entrancing and sensual aura. At times, feeling like a mixture of Rollergirl from “Boogie Nights” and Claudia Wilson Gator from “Magnolia,” Waterston is one of the most engrossing characters in a PTA film. Del Toro, Witherspoon, Short and Owen are the old guard that give brilliant performances. Jena Malone’s one scene was by far the best in the whole film. Inherent Vice is worth a watch, but don’t hold your breath the first time round.