27 March 2015 | brchthethird
PTA's loosest, but also funniest, film to date
After a long wait I've finally seen Paul Thomas Anderson's latest cinematic creation, and...it was different, to say the least. It has some loose plotting and a narrative that takes a lot of detours, but the acting, cinematography and music, as well as a keen sense of style make this essential for PTA fans. Other people not so inclined to like indie or art films like this will probably find it slow and boring, though, but it's their loss. The story follows Larry "Doc" Sportello, a private eye who is put on a case brought to him by a former girlfriend, and that has to do with the disappearance of her current lover who is some real estate tycoon. But here, the story and plot aren't really the point. What ensues has more to do with capturing the feel of an era, that pivotal moment in US history when the hedonistic culture of the 60's gave way to the more restrained 70's. Doc represents someone who is caught between the two and is somewhat of an outsider, but the perfect lens through the audience can view what transpires on screen. Thematically, there are a lot of elements at play. There's plenty of drugs and paranoia (some of which is brought on by drugs), but also references to the civil rights movement, the Manson family and other things one would think of when defining the 60's (particularly the late 60's). When it comes down to it, this is an odyssey that doesn't require complete understanding to appreciate. Just let the film wash over you like a wave and savor the experience. For now I need to just let it marinate a little longer in order to really develop a coherent opinion about it, but I did enjoy the film nonetheless. I don't completely get everything that happened, although further viewings might clear some of it up. From the technical side of things, INHERENT VICE delivers exactly what you'd expect from a PTA film: stunning visuals, immaculate production design, incredible performances and an eclectic score and soundtrack. Overall, this is loosest but also funniest film that PTA has ever done, and his fans should be pleased.