“Inherent Vice” Review

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice is based off of a Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. Joaquin Phoenix stars as “Doc”, a detective who investigates the disappearance of his former girlfriend and her millionaire boyfriend. I would try to explain more of the movie, but I’m not sure I can. The plot is intentionally disjointed, due to the main character being high the whole time, and after watching the full film I only had a vague understanding of all of the plot details.

The performances here are all phenomenal. Wearing mutton chops throughout, Joaquin Phoenix carries the movie and gives a reminder to why he’s one of the best actors working today. The ensemble cast is truly an ensemble with far too many actors to mention. Some of the highlights include Josh Brolin as an ape-like detective with a propensity for frozen bananas, Owen Wilson as a presumed dead saxophonist who seems to appear everywhere, and Martin Short as a cocaine-addicted dentist. Every performance in the film is absolutely on point.

Incredibly well shot throughout, the movie’s atmosphere is very surreal and absurd, which works really well with the strange nature of the script. Humorous moments in the blocking and set design help the audience enjoy the film and not focus too hard on understanding the story. I don’t think the purpose of the movie on the initial viewing is to fully comprehend the details. I feel like it’s to get engaged with the characters and the absurdism of everything. I think it’ll take several viewings to fully understand most of what’s happening in the film, and even then I feel like there will be new easter eggs with each new viewing. I really enjoyed this film, and I can’t wait to watch it again. 9/10.

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