Paul Thomas Anderson has a reputation for creating films often out of the mainstream trends. Often they have been little bizarre. Now, on his seventh film after a fairly successful run, he has adapted Thomas Pynchon’s novel, Inherent Vice – which, by all means is his most unique, and multi-layered film yet.
Set in 1970, a drug-fuelled LA detective called Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello (Phoenix), investigates the disappearance of his former girlfriend. Well, that is the basic version of the plot anyway. As non-linear story-telling takes places as excursions take Doc left, right and centre with run-ins with LA detectives, drugs, hustlers, prostitutes and murder mysteries.
It is entertaining to say the least, but more intriguing than successful. Almost like a Technicolour’ed Sin City – but replacing the violence and anger with comedy and drugs.
But, Inherent Vice’s greatest success lies in the recreation of the 1970’s era the nostalgic, retro and quite groovy setting take place – that, mixed with the psychedelic music it is quite authentic.
Like Anderson’s previous features, the star-studded cast once again assembles. This time is greater numbers. But, sadly, they are more of extended cameos rather than actually roles. Among the casting is Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Eric Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jena Malone, Benicio Del Toro, Reese Witherspoon, Katherine Wilson, Joanna Newman – who also narrates the films 148 min majority, plus Martin Short also appears in what is his first acting performance in several years.
It’s certainly a mixture of both style and substance – even if on the spectrum of bizarre. But, with its Oscar-friendly release date, casting and film-makers involved, as well as Anderson’s previous work – it is likely the shine again at this year's award season.