The Movie: 8/10
I wait too long to do these reviews. My lovely husband is THE Ascully of Ascully.com who is nice enough to not demand they be done in a timely fashion. I’m not fashionable in any sense, and so being timely with things is really something I excel at, so for that I do apologize. I’m not saying they will come sooner in the week, but I will try:) The thing that makes me think of this today, as I write this, is that I needed a whole week to think about this movie before I actually knew what to say about it.
I am rarely at a loss for words, as people who are pretentious are inclined to say, but after watching Inherent Vice I was a bit halted. We did the podcast right after the movie and we discussed it, yes, but then more of the finer points of the whole thing started to haunt me. The performances are actually excitingly exquisite. That’s a strong statement, but they settle in after a while, for better or worse, and my conclusion is that this is a showcase of talent for sure. Joaquin Phoenix is who he is and brings that to every character, but with their own nuances. He is subtle and extreme, sometimes at the same time, which is very stimulating. He’s hokey and weird and sometimes indulgent, but then again, he’s playing a guy who smokes a lot of dope and who has a certain amount of possible issues we will never know about. Josh Brolin is always extreme, and sometimes it feels stagey, but it still works. Katherine Waterston, well, she’s the best part of the movie, except for the thing they did when they wrote her character. I know, the guy who wrote the novel is a genius or something and Paul Thomas Anderson is amazing for getting it into a movie, I get it. The thing is, she’s the overly beautiful, damaged but too cool for school, damsel in distress who needs to be saved. Some will say, “DUH!” that’s the point because we are not supposed to know if she’s real or in his imagination, but the fact that she exists as a person in this world is still kind of annoying. I’m very over the whole “damaged messy haired young woman who can promise an unbelievable BJ because she did once before with the flicker of her big sad eyes and therefore you do whatever she wants” story telling tool. It will always exist and Waterston handles it fantastically, it just doesn’t do much for me.
The sets, the look, the music, the vibe, the story, I know they are a lot to lump together, but they are woven together in a way that can’t be picked apart. It’s an experience kind of movie, with remnants of a human condition story tucked inside, if you wish to find it there. Don’t come looking for a traditional narrative, or traditional linear bits and pieces to guide you through. You’re going to have to do some thinking, or as that husband I mentioned before said, “Just let it go and enjoy the ride.”
I’ll always enjoy a movie that makes me furrow my brow more than once. I will always have a good time digging into the minds of the people who live in the worlds I don’t fully understand. If a movie keeps me watching it over and over in my mind for days and days just to figure it out, or to find that “let it go” nirvana, it has to be good.
- Commercial Vignettes – A selection of trailers that were used in the run up to the release of the film in theatres.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art: 6/10
The cover is artsy and I do like that. I might even have it as a mini poster, but overall it’s a tiny bit over dramatized for me. The cover art underneath the slipcover is reversible. I highly recommend you reverse it as the picture on the back is the best.
Audio & Video: 8/10
As usual with Paul Thomas Anderson films Inherent Vice was shot on 35mm film and looks simply gorgeous. Director of Photography Robert Elswit does a striking job of making LA look like it’s the 1970’s. The film is almost bleached in parts and gives the movie a lived in feel that I really like. I saw a little banding and some black crush but it’s not annoyingly bad and won’t affect your enjoyment of the movie.
Warner’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track really delivers. Joaquin Phoenix is an inherent mumbler in the film but the clarity of the dialog track really helps understand him, if all else fails though turn on the subtitles. Johnny Greenwood’s score is subtle and not overpowering and even includes some cool songs which from a member of Radiohead makes a lot of sense.
Inherent Vice may divide the PT Anderson fan base but Warner’s transfer is not to fault, in fact it’s almost flawless.
Overall Score 8/10