29/01/2015 06:33 GMT | Updated 30/03/2015 06:59 BST

Film Review - Inherent Vice

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Katherine Waterston, Owen Wilson

Genre: Comedy Crime Drama

Language: English

Country of Origin: USA 2014 148 mins.


'An hilarious audacious psychedelic mad cap spiral of comedy, insight and paranoia.'

An audacious, stylish, hilarious, dazzling and buzzy thrill trip. Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice adapted from Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel bursts with colour and images. Sit back and just go with it. Doc Sportello will do the rest.

When pot smoking, straw hatted, Gordita beach dweller, LA private eye Larry 'Doc' Sportello's (Joaquin Phoenix) sensuous ex-old lady Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterston) suddenly shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend, Mickey Wolfmann (Eric Roberts) who's been turning LA neighbourhoods into luxury real estate whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a loony bin...well, easy for her to say.

It's the tail end of the psychedelic `60s and the Age of Aquarius is becoming myth. The back-to-nature California dream's over and land developers rule, the homegrown dope scene's given way to global heroin cartels, political activism's out and Nixon's dirty tricks are in. Peace, love and understanding becomes greed, surveillance and darkness. Paranoia's running the day and Doc knows that 'love' is another of those words going around at the moment, like 'trip' or 'groovy,' that's being way too overused - except this one usually leads to trouble.

A prismatic maze of characters pass through - LAPD Detective Christian 'Bigfoot' Bjornsen (Josh Brolin), the 'renaissance cop' who has a love-hate relationship with Doc, Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson), a tenor sax player working undercover who's faked his own death, Sancho Smilax (Benicio Del Toro), Doc's attorney, who practices maritime law, Penny Kimball (Reese Witherspoon), Deputy DA and Doc's occasional 'flatlander' fling, Dr Rudy Blatnoyd, a cocaine-loving dentist linked to the mysterious Golden Fang empire, which may have links to the rehab business and the heroin trade and be a tax dodge for some dentists.

Ex-flame Shasta, Mickey Wolfmann and Coy Harlington are off the radar and how's well-connected lawyer and former client Crocker Fenway (Martin Donovan), aka the Dark Prince of Palos Verdes connected to the Golden Fang? Doc investigates and Sortilege (Joanna Newsom), Doc's former employee who sees invisible forces, solves emotional problems and comprehends love narrates.

A dream cast throughout. Joaquin Phoenix shines through the haze, frozen banana-chomping flat top Josh Brolin is a manic force 10 and Katherine Waterston just slides into the role of sensuous Shasta.

Released by Warner Bros 30th January 2015

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