Given the sprawling and complex style of Thomas Pynchon’s novels, with their numerous digressions and huge casts of characters, it may not be particularly surprising that Inherent Vice is the first film adaptation of his writing, but it’s surely less surprising that the task has been entrusted to Paul Thomas Anderson, whose own work could be similarly described. This film may prove to be the best point of entry to either man’s oeuvre, an immensely entertaining, very funny, shaggy dog noir in which Joaquin Phoenix’s Doc, a perpetually stoned private investigator in 1970 Los Angeles, becomes embroiled in a labyrinthine plot when his ex-girlfriend (Katherine Waterston) comes to him for help.
Subsequent story threads and scene stealing turns (including a prescient Joanna Newsom and a truculent Josh Brolin) meander in and out of focus in this magnificently tumbledown triumph. (Notes by Kevin Coyne.)
★★★★★ The Guardian ★★★★ The Irish Times ★★★★ Irish Independent ★★★★ Scannain
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