(Paul Thomas Anderson, USA, 2014)
It's true: Anderson doing Pynchon doing oddball late-sixties stoner gumshoe picaresque has a sort of groovy ring to it. But after all of the smoked numbers and frolics and gags, one can't help but wake up, hungover and funky-smelling, and ask of their inner square: Does it work? In parts, yes, absolutely. Inherent Vice has stretches of bravura cinema, captured in grainy glory on bonafide celluloid. The extemporaneous, the whimsical, the gorgeously far-out are all there to be dug. And yet there were moments when it lags; it has that same creeping sense of latency, of unused space, that has afflicted his work since TWBB. But it casts a spell, it has a presence, indeed a very strange one; it is almost-just-about-there. At the theater (a lucky last-minute coup of free tickets to a press screening) I was forced to sit in front row, enveloped in the screen, my neck craned back the whole time. The frequent close-ups of faces took on an Easter Island aspect. Not an inappropriate way to view this movie, all in all, but the distortion eventually became wearisome, and prevented a better appreciation. I'm eager to see it again.