Inherent Vice (2014)
May 18, 2015, 3:05 pm
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Inherent Vice (2014)
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

Inherent Vice is a film that drops you in at the deep end. It pulls you into a sudden, twisted haze of neon confusion. Everything is happening around you whether you keep up or not. Whether you remember it or not. Whether it is important or not.

The film invites you, the viewer, to share in the confusion with the protagonist, Doc. If you let it wash over you, the film is an easy watch in a world that is cool and inviting. If you let the confusion consume you then the film is a headache that will push and pull at your brain until you can’t take it any more.

It is an easy watch, but not an easy story, because the puzzle is too complex. The puzzle contains parts that we can’t see, and in some sense Doc himself is a part of the puzzle that he is trying to figure out. Character’s enter the scene to drop clues and muddy the waters, then disappear again. We can’t tell if the information they give is help or harm, or even true. One character states the Golden Fang is a boat, another states the Golden Fang is a triad, another states the Golden Fang is a conglomerate of dentists. It all builds into this confused mess of frustration that we experience alongside Doc. And this is okay. This is the point of the film. It helps if you know this going into it.

Paul Thomas Anderson has developed a reputation for making bold films. And he makes them in an uncompromising way that can’t resonate with all viewers. This has split the critical response to Inherent Vice like hippies and squares.

Like many (all) PTA films it is a film that opens up like a flower with repeat viewing. It is a film about mood and it takes a viewing just to soak up the cinematography. But in all honesty, the story falls into place in the end.

Things click and make sense. You dig?