Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Reel Facts & Opinions: Everything You Need to Know About INHERENT VICE

Having already seen a limited release in early December, Paul Thomas Anderson’s hotly anticipated INHERENT VICE finally sees a wide distribution this weekend. Here is everything you need to know about it: 

What is this about? – INHERENT VICE is based on the book of the same name by American novelist Thomas Pynchon; a writer of fiction and nonfiction in many genres including history, music, and science. The story follows a private investigator, named “Doc”, who investigates the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend. 

Who is in this? – Joaquin Phoenix, who worked with director Paul Thomas Anderson in THE MASTER in 2012, plays Doc. He is joined by his WALK THE LINE (2004) cast-mate Reese Witherspoon. Also along for the ride is Josh Brolin (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN), Owen Wilson, Benicio del Toro, Jena Malone, Martin Short, Eric Roberts, and Katherine Waterston…who is the daughter of actor Sam Waterston. 

Who is the director? – INHERENT VICE is directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, whose directing credits include the aforemented THE MASTER…along with the real Best Picture of 2007, THERE WILL BE BLOOD. His other works include PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE (2002), MAGNOLIA (1999), and BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997). 

Random things – The film is the first adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel * Pynchon reportedly gave the screenplay his blessing, and also makes an appearance in the film * This is Paul Thomas Anderson’s first crack at comedy since PUNCH DRUNK LOVE * Anderson, who writes his own scripts, began the writing process for this film by first typing out the entire novel word-for-word, and then cutting from there * Radiohead guitarist Johny Greenwood composed the music. Greenwood also composed for Anderson’s THERE WILL BE BLOOD and THE MASTER. 

What to expect – Starting with the source material…Pynchon’s novel has been described as a tough nut to crack with its complicated plot and meandering style. It’s a stoner-detective story, so it seems we can expect a loose structure. Anderson has said that he drew inspiration from the stoner-film Cheech & Chong’s UP IN SMOKE (1978), detective-flicks THE BIG SLEEP (1946) and THE LONG GOODBYE (1973), and comedies such as AIRPLANE! (1980). With that in mind, a wild ride can certainly be expected. Anderson has also earned himself a reputation as a director that actors want to work for, and for getting tremendous performances out of his cast. So expect some great acting from everyone…and there is some serious fascination with Martin Short being involved here. On top of everything else, this Blogger has long held that Paul Thomas Anderson is the best director working today. Aside from the heaps of critical acclaim he receives with his films, he has a bold yet simplistic style which tells a great story and exposes the innards of his characters. Spiritual and technically proficient, INHERENT VICE sounds like a great director having fun…and who wouldn’t want to see that. 


INHERENT VICE opens wide December 9th

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