Rarely am I so harsh, but when a guy like PT Anderson, who has made some of my favorite movies of all time (Magnolia, Boogie Nights, The Master), puts out inexplicable babble like “Inherent Vice”, I have to say pare that 369 page tome down more or don’t film it all.
PT Anderson knows that movies are about moments, events that make us feel. When Philip Seymour Hoffman is rebuffed in trying to kiss Mark Walhberg in Boogie Nights, we feel that rejection. On the other hand, Inherent Vice was void of anything evocative, save the erotic scene in which Shasta Fay confesses her tawdry activities with a drug syndicate. In that one shining moment, we feel Joaquin’s Doc’s flustered emotions of rage, jealousy and lust.
Beyond that, I felt like I was watching a Cliff Note version of the novel, unable to truly appreciate any of those special moments Pynchon created and PT Anderson has been able to authenticate in the past.
Everyone’s been bragging about the performances and without a doubt, there’s some great stuff here, Joaquin and Josh Brolin in particular, but at the risk of being repetitive, unless their great acting leads to some meaning and theme, it’s akin to watching simply great auditions.