Inherent Vice (2015)

"Eggs break, chocolate melts."

Inherent Vice definitely has some of the coolest posters I've ever seen.

Inherent Vice definitely has some of the coolest posters I've ever seen.

I've been a Paul Thomas Anderson fan for a very long time, and I stand behind my opinion that he is one of the most talented directors in Hollywood. His films always have amazing production value and fantastic casts. I've seen everything he's directed (with the exception of his short, Cigarettes & Coffee, which has proven to be pretty difficult to find), and although I don't like all of his movies (Magnolia, in particular), movies like Boogie Nights and Punch Drunk Love remain some of my favorite films of all time.

Inherent Vice follows the story of a pothead P.I. named Doc Sportello, who traverses 1970's Los Angeles while searching for an old flame. It's an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name, the first Pynchon novel to make it to the big screen. The recently revived Joaquin Phoenix plays Portello, and he's joined by an amazing cast - Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Benecio Del Toro, Katherine Waterson and Reese Witherspoon all show up at various points.

"Did I get ya?"

"Did I get ya?"

In my opinion, Inherent Vice suffers from the same problem Anderson's last film, The Master, ran into - the parts are greater than the sum. Phoenix, who was also in The Master, clearly carries this film. His performance as Doc Sportello is hilarious as he dons costumes and trades barbs with Josh Brolin's 'Bigfoot', the other acting highlight here. Brolin steals the show in every scene he's in, eating food and kicking down doors. Unfortunately, the story our characters are wrapped up in is a bit convoluted and very, very long. In fact, I wasn't real interested in the story at all, and when it was all wrapped up, the only thing I really cared about was the performances by the actors...the same feeling I had when the credits rolled on The Master. Also, like all Anderson films, Inherent Vice is long - clocking in at two and a half hours.

There are some very funny lines in Inherent Vice, and the 70's atmosphere is presented fantastically, but it just didn't stick with me like I hoped it would. Maybe it deserves a second viewing sometime.

My final score: C+