148 min - Comedy | Crime | Drama
Review: Matt Mungle
When you see the name Paul Thomas Anderson attached to a film
as writer and director you know immediately that you are not getting
just a movie experience. You are being allowed entrance into his
world where you will meet extravagant characters and visit exotic
places. Granted these are seldom people and places you would want
to be involved with in real life but that is what makes his films
so wonderful. The real is so surreal that you often cant separate
the two.Like buying your ticket at the carnival to see the wonders
behind the tent flaps. IINHERENT VICE is his latest and greatest
offering. And it is dang good.
Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is a detective
in 1970's LA. To meet him on the street you would consider dropping
change in his cup, figuring him to be a homeless junkie. And yes
he does spend most of his time in a drug filled stupor but it
is 1970 after all. When his on again off again girlfriend goes
missing he has to weave his way through corrupt business men,
sleazy sex parlors, and steer clear of a hard nosed cop (Josh
Brolin) to try and find her.
When creating a film based in the 70's there are two directions
you can go. One is the funky suits, wild hair, and disco ball
direction. The other is the hippie style of tuning in and checking
out that carried over from the 60's. This film takes the later
route. It is almost as if Anderson sat at the poker table with
American Hustle and said, "I'll see your butterfly collar
and raise you a coke snorting Martin Short". Every element
of this film reeked of cannabis and sweat.Yet if you look closer
you see the carnival barker break into a slight grin because he
knows beneath all of this is a witty style..
The casting of this film is genius. You pair the eccentric Phoenix
with the straight edge matter of fact Brolin and your script explodes
off the screen in brilliant colors. Brolin has the ability to
take on different personas and this one may become a cult fave.
His portrayal of Lt. Det. Christian F. "Bigfoot" Bjornsen
will live on forever. Brolin never breaks character as Phoenix
delivers line after line of hippiefied jargon. Every role from
the unnamed extra to famous face walk ons (and there are several)
is larger than life and in your face. Anderson directs what he
writes like a movie making Dr Frankenstein. He fills it full of
electricity and yells, "Live!".
IINHERENT VICE is rated R for drug use throughout, sexual content,
graphic nudity, language and some violence. That alone should
tell you who to take with you and who you need to leave home with
the sitter. This is an adult film and makes no apologies about
it. There is so much about this film that stands out. I give it
4 out of 5 kicked in doors. It is a tad long at 148 minutes and
there are a few scenes that seemed unnecessary. But this is the
story Anderson wanted to tell and you cant fault him for it.