This film, adapted from the literary work of Thomas Pynchon’s book Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson takes us on a wild ride of the hippie, trippy, drug induced world of missing people, drug cartels and cults, feeling groovy for the entire ride.
Private investigator, Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) with is office in a clinic, is surprised in the dead of night by his ex-girlfriend Shasta Hepworth (Katherine Waterson) asking for his help with her current lover. The problem it seems is that the wife of Micky Wolfman (Eric Roberts) a wealthy real estate developer wants to have him committed so that she and her lover can run off with his money. The wife wants to cut Shasta in on the scam. Instead, Shasta goes to Doc for help with her sugary request, dripping in honey, and asks Doc to do something before it’s too late.
Like all of the characters out of a Phillip Marlowe or Dick Tracy story, you can smell the twists and turns coming a mile away. With a long list of interesting supporting characters; Josh Brolin, Bigfoot Bjornsen, as the straight-laced, buzzed cut cop with a sex fetish underneath his stern surface with a thorny history with Doc; Owen Wilson, the missing musician doing undercover work and presumed dead by his ex-junkie wife, Jena Malone; Reese Witherspoon, assistant DA and part-time lover of Doc who secretly helps him to uncover the truth, and Benecio Del Toro a maritime lawyer rescuing Doc when he’s arrested for a murder he didn’t commit.
The storylines weaves in and out which can be confusing and disorienting. You can forgive the confusion because Paul Thomas Anderson invites you into a world of psychedelic dreams that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end. The performances are top notch and the dialogue just dripping the 60s. The film itself is a stimulation of senses. It’s fun to watch and even more fun to listen to. It’s hard to tell if this is a film that everyone will like. If you can solve the puzzles and mysteries along the way you will definitely enjoy the “blast to the past” without any mind altering substances.
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Benecio Del Toro
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Company: Warner Brothers
Now Showing: In Theatres
MPAA Rating: R (drug use, violence, sexual content/nudity, and language)
Grade: B –