By Jesus Figueroa
The strange staggered pace film “Inherent Vice” gives the feeling of desperation and confusion that the main character Doc Sportello, played by Joaquin Phoenix, makes the film enjoyable.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson brings life to the first film adaptation of a novel by Thomas Pynchon, and combined with the spectacular acting skill of Phoenix, the film is funny and entertaining.
Doc’s ex Shata, played by Katherine Waterston, comes back into his life telling a story of her billionaire boyfriend Mickey Wolfmann, played by Eric Roberts, being in danger as his wife Sloane Wolfmann, played by Serena Scott Thomas, is planning to have him committed.
Phoenix continues his fantastic portrayal of characters as the seriousness of the film is well played out and the comedic sequences are still serious but with a goofy tone. The manner in which he talks can come off as inaudible at points. All together his performance fits the feel of the film.
Waterston plays the seductive and mischievous character well and entices audiences.
Roberts is hardly on screen, but is impactful with the presence he brings to the film.
Serena Scott Thomas is just a small character, but like Roberts she brings more to the film by her presence in the scene she’s in then she does by the performance.
Doc encounters strange characters through his search for Shasta.
Lt. Detective Bigfoot Bjornsen, played by Josh Brolin, impedes the search and yet still manages to put Doc in the right path to find what he is looking for.
Brolin is intense and slightly crazy in this role as he not only matches Phoenix’s performance, but at points goes beyond.
Doc’s girlfriend Penny, played by Reese Witherspoon, pops in and out of the story and brings a contrast to Doc’s lifestyle. Penny is an assistant district attorney and well established while Doc is an unfocused private investigator.
Witherspoon contrasted Phoenix well and still created a bond to give the feeling of a balanced relationship.
The film feels like it progresses slowly and at times can come off as stretched out past the limit of comfort, but it helps put the viewer in the mindset of Doc.
Shasta disappears after she is first seen and still the entire film revolves around her and the way she has affected Doc.
The ending is unorthodox and bizarre, but compared to the rest of the film, it fits well.
“Inherent Vice” will be out in theaters Dec. 12. It is rated R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence.