Inherent Vice is a film which is directed by Paul Thomas Anderson who some may know for his directorial work on such films as There Will Be Blood (2007) or Magnolia (1999). Inherent Vice has a long list of stars which includes Joaquin Phoenix, Katherine Waterston, Josh Brolin, Eric Roberts, Benicio Del Toro, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon and Martin Short.
Inherent Vice Trailer
Inherent Vice follows the story of Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) who is a private investigator that is trying to investigate the disappearance of a former girlfriend. We watch this character explore the strange world of the 1970’s in which he lives, takes drugs and has sex a lot. While at the same time trying to find clues. We get to meet a lot of strange characters along the way which make up the majority of the films run time, most of them are on drugs, but there’s also a policeman called Bigfoot (Josh Brolin) who constantly shows up and causes trouble for Doc.
While there are a lot of characters that standout in the film the ones who are the most interesting to me to see were Owen Wilson’s character of Coy Harlingen who keeps showing up all over the place with many different aliases. Deputy D.A. Penny Kimball who is played by Reese Witherspoon is another strange one and I didn’t really understand what her relationship with Doc was exactly. While Martin Short is as a crazy as ever as a super rich drug taker who Doc meets along the way and is kind of funny on screen. All the actors in the film did well with their roles and I have really no issue with any of the performances.
Where I think the film comes down a bit is with its pacing and its storytelling. At certain points of the movie I was wondering what exactly Doc was meant to be doing and at many points I felt that things were just a waste of time. Inherent Vice has a run time of 148 minutes which felt like it took forever to pass by. I checked my watch three times during the film because I wanted to know how long was left before it ended and I saw many people in the cinema doing the same. Sometimes I couldn’t understand what characters were saying or trying to do and most of it to me seemed like a mess to watch. I don’t particularly like all the drug culture that is in this film and there is a lot of it. I just don’t really find it appealing to watch people take drugs in movies, it’s so boring to see and I don’t really know why so many people like it either.
There are a few good things about Inherent Vice that I do like however and the main thing I enjoyed about it was the costumes. Although they aren’t the best costumes I’ve seen, they are good for the period the film is set in and they add a lot to the scenes. Characters always look interesting wearing their various costumes and often times what they’re wearing will accentuate their personality as well and it’s good to have that in a film. The music is also very well done with a lot of great songs played here and there that help to bring that 1970’s feeling to the film.
Apart from the music and the costumes in Inherent Vice, I couldn’t really enjoy the rest. The movie is just so slow and it is somehow inherently incoherent at so many points that I didn’t really want to continue watching it. But I continued to endeavor to the end just to see what happens. But nothing really great at all happens at the end of the investigation and we meet so many characters along the way that when I think about the end point I kept wondering what the point of this movie was. I couldn’t stand how long this movie felt like it was going for and I started to hate a lot of the characters, so much so that when I now see the trailer for the film, I can’t stand it and don’t want to see any more or hear of anything to do with Inherent Vice.
Overall the film has some nicely made costumes and some great use of music. But as a detective story set in the 1970’s it’s kind of hard to follow at times with so many characters talking nonsense (probably because of all the drugs), that it can become irritating listening to people in the film talk. The story telling is a mess and the pacing is very slow and I felt the film just went on forever and I just got so bored with Inherent Vice. I can’t really recommend the film, unless you’re a fan of one of the actors (who do well enough) or the genre, but you’ll need to be very interested in the movie to enjoy it. For casual viewers just coming along to the cinema for something fun, I think they may be bored with Inherent Vice.