Sat 6 Jun 2015
You should be warned that ‘Inherent Vice’ is very different of what it is marketed to be. If you expect to see the detective story advertised by trailers better give up from start. Based upon a book or books by Thomas Pynchon the film is very disappointing as a thriller despite involving such huge talents like director Paul Thomas Anderson or actors Joaquin Phoenix and Benicio del Toro. I cannot even call ‘Inherent Vice’ a bad movie because there are a few moments of humor and charm, and because Phoenix acts with passion and empathy, so I will just confess that I found the film too long and extremely confusing.
Missing first before all in this film is a coherent story. What happens on the screen action-wise does not seem to have been the focus of director Anderson, neither telling the story in a fluent manner. Characters keep appearing and disappearing not only for detective reasons, whatever happens is based upon coincidences and the links between the different threads and characters are unclear or seem to lead nowhere. Phoenix plays a hippie version of Marlowe in 1970, and the characters around are mostly stereotypes of that era. There is too little fun and too little thrill to compensate the long and incoherent story though.
It’s easy to fall for Joaquin Phoenix who is such a great actor and seems to have enjoyed acting in this film. The 70s are described less than the time of flowers power and birth of all good music we ever heard, and more like the moral swamp that generated the America of today. I found however the critical social view as not too engaging, after all it’s 40 years since Nixon went home, and it certainly cannot compensate the sometimes painful experience of watching this film. Despite all the talent invested (or should I say wasted?) in it, I believe that I am making a public service advising friends and foes to avoid it.