Inherent Vice (2014)
- Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
- With: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson
- 148 Minutes
There was a constant feeling of amazingness floating in my mind while was watching Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie, Inherent Vice… A very peculiar story with really fascinating characters that captured my attention right from the beginning, keeping always a groovy pace and an interesting development… With a cast that features so many great names like Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson and this year’s Oscars’ nominee Reese Witherspoon, the movie is filled with an energy that one can easily absorb and it mixes amazing performances with an unbelievable story that is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Inherent Vice was probably the biggest surprise of the year in my opinion and I almost comfortable saying it was the movie I enjoyed the most from 2014. It’s strong, it’s cool, it’s funny, it’s like watching the 70’s going on from a drug addict perspective and it fulfilled all of my expectations.
Because the most amazing thing about Inherent Vice is the unconventional plot in which the most unbelievable things happen and in which all the action is centered on a hippie private detective addicted to pot, I will try my best to keep you away from spoilers. Basically we have this man, Larry Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix), known as Doc, who lives in California and who is approached by his ex-lover Shasta Fay Hempworth (Katherine Waterston) because she believes her current boyfriend Mickey Wolfman is being threatened by his wife and her lover, who want to send him to a mental house. Doc accepts the help and goes on a journey to find Wolfman… However what appeared to by an everyday job happens to be the most unusual crime story I’ve ever seen. While he is looking for him, others go missing, including Shasta and Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson), a man who is assumed to be murdered. Doc will meet a series of crazy characters and will be involved in the middle of some nasty s**t that will put him on the radar of LAPD detective Christian Bjornsen, also known as Bigfoot (Josh Brolin), who is constantly looking for something that could put Doc in jail.
There is something unique about this amazing combination of details that unfortunately I can’t find a good way to describe. The way everything is connected not in a predictable sense left me stunned. There are hilarious moments, moments to reflect about and the some pretty amazing dialogues that make this one of the most quotable movies of the decade. Whether you see it as a crime film or as a comedy, one thing is for sure, there’s something unique about Inherent Vice’s style that made me leave the room with a big smile on my face. Paul Thomas Anderson managed to gather the styles of both Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino in an epic tale about a good guy who had his flaws but who was always there for his friends. Doc is the whole spirit of the story, with a badass attitude mixed with brief moments of craziness that are not only unpredictable but also terribly funny. He’s obsessed with Shasta and so he decides to travel through dangerous territories while he’s investigating the one man everyone is looking for. Always in the middle of the confusion and with Bigfoot watching his moves, Doc tries to find out a truth that will place him into a carefully arranged scheme in which everyone is related with the guy he is looking for. Bigfoot is this emotionless cop, constantly chasing Doc and ready to catch him. Bigfoot is a legend between all the LAPD detectives and a strong man who enjoys fighting crime but at the same time he can’t avoid express his hate and lack of trust for hippies like Doc. Sure these two look truly incompatible characters but together, in order to track Wolfman, they are the most unusual team of guys fighting crime I’ve ever seen.
Drugs are constantly present in the story, whether for Doc’s addiction or for the plot itself and the whole style of the movie fits perfectly in the 70’s mood. Technically speaking, Inherent Vice was clearly made to be seen as a return to that time because everything works amazingly well in that way… We have the cool costumes, a soundtrack that suits perfectly the film’s pace and energy and an edition that looked a bit old, probably on purpose. With all these things, Inherent Vice seeks for your attention and it ends up getting it in a surprisingly effective way, by mixing violence and comedy in the right quantities. I mean, in the screening I’ve attended everyone was laughing and I must say that in some moments I was almost laughing hysterically. Basically Paul Thomas Anderson is responsible for one the best adaptations of the year that gets even better when we join the amazing performances of high-quality cast that surprises you with things you can’t expect. Inherent Vice manages to be both serious and hilarious at the same time, becoming one of the coolest movies I’ve ever seen, with a groovy style and a great attitude. Always improving and without showing any signs of weaknesses, Inherent Vice is an amazing work of art that allowed me to have a good time while it managed to be entertaining and interesting at the same time. Featuring some unconventional moments and starring a hell of a cast, Inherent Vice is an experience I would love to repeat some time and that I must recommend as one of the best movies of 2014.