“Inherent Vice,” an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s seventh and funniest novel, is the seventh film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson—and the very first film adaptation ever of Pynchon’s legendarily inventive, culturally kaleidoscopic work. A surf noir, the story dives headlong into the smoky haze and neon afterglow of the American counterculture via a psychedelic spin on the classic detective yarn.
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...it’s part California noir, part hallucinogenic romp, and an all-out cinematic homage to a Pynchonian world of far-out characters, dead-on insights and deep yearning.
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