In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles detective Larry “Doc” Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.
This was one of my most anticipated movies for a long, long time – ever since the first trailer hit. Not only did it look like a classic Paul Thomas Anderson film, but the cast was absolutely top notch for a quirky and completely wacky 70s tell.
The story was above basic enough to get by. Actually, it was somewhat relieving to watch a movie on following a day in the life of a PI, with no big explosions or action sequences. A movie that focuses on its story and characters, something that we rarely get. Don’t get me wrong though, that doesn’t always mean everything works out as it should. There were a number of good and bad things that go along with the story. Positives are like the total 70s feel and awesome characters and settings that we meet throughout the journey. As for the negatives, two major ones that I just can’t get past.
First is that around the end of the second act and beginning of the third, for me, it died and I wasn’t as interested or invested in it as I was before. Quite honestly, I had a pretty hard time getting through that to the ending. That leads into my next point in that it was dragged out and way, way to long for my taste. I understand that in a story like this one, it’s fun to play with it and throw in cool and very interesting characters to meet along the way, but it was thirty minutes (maybe even more) to long for me. I felt like it could have been so much more and well, better, if it was around the two hour mark or so.
Luckily for Inherent Vice, it had some of the coolest, most fun, and deep characters. As you follow Doc, played by the always just flat-out awesome Joaquin Phoenix, around his investigation, left and right you are meeting characters played by big names. Both Phoenix and Josh Brolin without a doubt stole the show, as both do so often. But other than just them, we see Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro Reese Witherspoon, Jena Malone, Michael K. Williams, Martin Short, Maya Rudolph, and Eric Roberts. And every one of them just kills there role. The characters and the performances are most definitely what kept me going and somewhat interested in the movie. No matter how uninterested I started to become in the story, the characters always brought me back.
As much as I was looking forward to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, it wasn’t enough for me to overlook the mistakes. There’s no doubt that Inherent Vice is a character and story centered movie, but that can only works when both work. Very interesting, fun, and deep characters weren’t enough to save Inherent Vice from a dull middle and finish that seemed to never come.