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.


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