The film Inherent Vice, based on the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name,was recently released in cinemas on our side of the Atlantic. It’s got a stellar cast full of some formidable names, it’s been warmly received by a majority of critics, and (for our money) it’s one of the most interesting, complex, and stunning films to come out this year. That being said, the critics who didn’t rave about Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest endeavour have highlighted it’s capacity to frustrate audiences, teasing them into a hazy world of moral ambiguity and then forcing them to find their own way. So if you’re not sure whether you want to take the plunge, take a look at 6 quick-fire reasons why you should definitely catch the wave, man!
All around musician and composer Jonny Greenwood, best known for being the lead guitarist and keyboardist of Radiohead, took the reigns on composing the score for the film. It’s a soundtrack that most definitely does not disappoint – Greenwoods compositions masterfully reflects the bugged out, paranoid, hazy atmosphere that permeates 70’s California. Steady and pulsating when its needs to be, strung out, shimmering, and nostalgic in other places – its truly one of our favourite soundtracks in recent memory:
Josh Brolins portrayal of Christian F. ‘Bigfoot’ BjornsenBigfoot Bjornsen
Doc Sportello is undoubtedly the films protagonist, but it’s Bigfoot Bjornsen that really steals the show. Josh brolin plays the hippy-hating, suit wearing, pancake-ordering badass police detective, and when he’s on screen he commands attention. The relationship shared between Doc the washed out hippy detective, and Bigfoot, the straight laced slightly insane LAPD detective, is an interesting take on a relationship that appears throughout hard boiled and crime fiction narratives, but as the movie progresses, this relationship traverses terrain that is hilarious, bewildering, and even slightly tragic.
The legend of Pynchon
Inherent Vice is the first Thomas Pynchon novel to be adapted to the silver-screen, and whilst this may seem like a relatively innocuous piece of trivia, if you consider the legend and myth that has slowly built up around the author, then this adaptation actually becomes quite a substantial event. Pynchon is, supposedly, a complete recluse who has shied away from the spotlight in all its various films. On top of this, his novels are notoriously difficult to read, let alone adapt into film; countless pop-culture references, the rejection of grand narratives, and non-linear storylines are often headaches for would-be filmmakers. As such, this adaptation is a significant milestone for both film and literature. Have a look at this Simpsons clip below – one of the few occassions that Pynchon’s voice has been broadcast to the pubilc :
It’s got all the makings of a cult classic
Inherent Vice is definitely the type of film that will be obsessed over and cherished by a group of hardcore fans. Shades of The Big Lebowski and Pulp Fiction are not too hard to find, and the stylish cinematography, the unexpected comedy, and the Chandler-esque convolution will certainly win fans over.
It’s hilarious (we think?)
This clip perfectly sums up the mania and confusion that infects the film, but there’s no denying that its an incredibly charming mania and confusion, and one that often leaves us laughing, crying, or genuinely not knowing which emotion to experience. Take a look at this funny clip where everyone’s looking at each other, and talking too, but no-one really seems to know what’s going on. It’s absurd and surreal, and we like it.
Because maybe you’re the person who can tell us what it’s actually about…
Or maybe not, because half of us are pretty sure that the plot isn’t terribly important – it’s about charming, troubled characters, it’s about style, and its about losing yourself in a frustrating and complex world shrouded in the smoke from countless joints, and (somehow) finding yourself too. Or…maybe not. This may not seem particularly lucid, but trust us, you’ll understand when you watch it…