Inherent Vice

In Los Angeles at the turn of the 1970s, drug-fueled detective Larry "Doc" Sportello investigates the disappearance of an ex-girlfriend.


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  • ★★★½ review by Matt Singer on Letterboxd

    Every ticket to INHERENT VICE should come with the choice of a joint or a second ticket to INHERENT VICE. You will need one or the other.

  • ★★★★½ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd

    Without a doubt, the most hysterical movie of the year... Paul Thomas Anderson's funniest, most absurd film yet - to me, the most consistently hilarious film since A Serious Man (2009). His direction is top notch here; I think this film might be the most obvious display of his genius that I've seen yet (though There Will Be Blood is, and always will be, my favorite PTA film). Inherent Vice is probably the most immediate favorite though, because as you're watching it, there's no denying how fantastic and seemingly accurate of a psychedelic, chemical-fueled atmosphere it has, and there's no suppressing the laughter anytime an almost alien-esque Joaquin Phoenix opens his damn mouth. (I won't be surprised if at some point over the next decade, that man reveals he is not truly a human, haha.) Nonetheless, it's Josh Brolin that steals every single scene that he's in, delivering the goofiest and frankly one of the finest supporting performances I've seen in a long time; unfortunately he may not receive much recognition for his role here because of the ridiculousness and insanity of the content. The 35mm cinematography is absolutely, positively something to marvel over - that beautiful graininess which you know from the equally gorgeous The Master (even though that was shot in 70mm). This film will most likely be very divisive - unfortunately I'm pretty sure that it was sitting at a proposterous 40% on RT when I originally wrote this review - but I want to thank Pynchon and PTA, for creating/adapting an incredibly strange and absurdist trip into some sort of American parallel universe, a world as if you're staring into a reflection of the 1970s in a partially shattered, cocaine covered mirror.

  • ★★★★★ review by SilentDawn on Letterboxd


    We see her, and then we don't. She's there, glowing and lighting up the night, and then she's gone. The paranoia feverishly tries to fill the void, but the coked-up sense of reality forcefully crawls in before mystery can mask the pain of the outside world. With the whispering conspiracies running in the mind of stoners, a dream of watching the setting sun with your lover seems to have been whisked away to the sea, warm and breezy but soon morphing into perilous dark.

    So close, yet so far away.

  • ★★★★½ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd

    In America, money is everything. In film noir, money is everything else.

    Towards the end of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, there’s a scene in which Joaquin Phoenix’s Larry “Doc” Sportello – the goofily mutton-chopped private detective at the heart of this sweet and strung-out noir odyssey – is offered a generous mountain of cash in exchange for the return of it really doesn’t matter what. When Doc tells his client that he might prefer a different form of payment, the man curtly replies: “Well, money would be a lot easier.” It always is.

    But there’s nothing easy about this.


  • ★★★★★ review by SilentDawn on Letterboxd


    "She came along the alley and up the back steps the way she always used to. Doc hadn't seen her for over a year. Nobody had. Back then it was always sandals, bottom half of a flower-print bikini, faded Country Joe & the Fish t-shirt. Tonight she was all in flatland gear, hair a lot shorter than he remembered, looking just like she swore she'd never look."

    A bad hippie dream.

    "What kind of girl do you need, Doc?"

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