Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson
Release Date: Own it on Blu-Ray Combo Pack, DVD & Digital HD April 28th
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
When private eye Doc Sportello’s ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a loony bin…well, easy for her to say.
It’s the tail end of the psychedelic `60s and paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” that’s being way too overused—except this one usually leads to trouble.
With a cast of characters that includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, LAPD Detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover, and a mysterious entity known as The Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists…part surf noir, part psychedelic romp—all Thomas Pynchon.
‘Inherent Vice’ follows private detective and pothead Doc (Phoenix) in the early 1970’s. Upon receiving an unexpected visit from a troublesome ex-girlfriend, Doc becomes intertwined in a complex mess involving a number of unique and often dangerous individuals in his quest to get to the bottom of the case. As Doc makes his way from one person of interest to the next, right along with a joint for each, he becomes more involved and confused than when he began. Now he must somehow find a way to sort through all of the details and connect the dots before it’s too late and everything goes up in smoke.
The film was written for the screen (based upon the novel by Thomas Pynchon) and directed by the talented Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia, Boogie Nights) and he does a truly fantastic job of capturing this period in time in everything from appearance to dialogue, expertly guiding this offbeat detective story. The movie also owes a great deal to its incredibly talented cast including the likes of Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Jena Malone, Martin Short and a number more, all of whom deliver magnificent performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Inherent Vice’ is a unique, beautiful and just overall mesmerizing detective story that superbly captures the drug fueled early 70’s era. It pulls the viewer into the story and manages to do a fantastic job of really putting the viewer into a similar mindset as Doc while watching, almost enveloping you in a haze of your own as a result of the storytelling method. While admittedly ‘Inherent Vice’ may not be a film for everyone, for the fans of Paul Thomas Anderson’s work along with those who appreciate unique and phenomenally crafted films that don’t necessarily follow a simple and familiar formula, I would highly recommend checking it out, you shouldn’t be disappointed in the slightest.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Inherent Vice’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing its original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic, perfectly representing what I would imagine Anderson’s intended appearance of this film would be, delivering a real 70’s vibe with rich and bright colors and every element perfectly detailed from the front and center close-ups to the beautifully detailed surroundings and atmosphere, while still retaining some of the grain and other elements of his choice to shoot the film in 35mm. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation that impressively and accurately represents the presentation of a film actually shot in the 70’s.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack delivers a crisp and detailed presentation, the majority of the activity is intentionally focused to the center channel, although while some mild elements may work themselves into the surrounding channels, it’s few and far between; yet the dialogue and other elements sharing the center channel never become intertwined or result in anything becoming distorted or inaudible at any point. Overall, this is a top notch 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that while it may not be too active in the surrounding channels, it holds up and delivers solidly in every way required of it.
The only area that the Blu-Ray release of ‘Inherent Vice’ is really lacking is in the way of bonus content. The only extra included on the Blu-Ray release is 4 ‘Special Trailers’ for the movie, each with a separate focus. The trailers are titled ‘Los Paranoias’; ‘Shasta Fay’; ‘The Golden Fang’; and ‘Everything in This Dream’ respectively.