“This doesn’t mean we’re back together”
One of the best cult crime movies in recent years is also among the most baffling. Based on a psychedelic detective novel by US author Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice even had its own director suggesting that critics may well dub the film “Incoherent Vice”. But that’s probably to be expected when the hero of the tale is stoned out of his mind for most of the time.
Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is not your typical detective. It’s 1970 and the mutton-chopped private eye is working the mean streets of Gordita Beach, Los Angeles, where he is despised as “hippy scum” by the local police, including the belligerent Bigfoot (Josh Brolin). With his sandals, unkempt appearance and incessant dope smoking, Doc’s hardly Philip Marlowe. But then again, Raymond Chandler’s plots could also be meandering – Inherent Vice certainly has shades of adaptations of the classic hardboiled novels The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye.
Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s stoner noir has its madcap comedy moments, though there’s an undercurrent of menace, as the idealism of the ’60s is about to be swept away. “Paranoia alert” scribbles Doc in his notebook, as he begins to make