Monday, 9 February 2015

Week 6: Inherent Vice

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer: Screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson 
based on a novel by Thomas Pynchon
Seen: Sunday 8th February 2015
Venue: IMC Galway
Snacks: Terrys Chocolate Orange (again mmmm)
Mood: Trippy 

This is undeniably a unique film. Paul Thomas Anderson is not only a exceptional and distinctive director, but also a very ballsy one who does not compromise his vision. In Inherent Vice he has created a stylish, misty and strange film. As a fan I have watched his complete oeuvre of films, and even though this might not be my favourite, similar to most of the others it firmly left a mark.

PTA is that rare kind of director that has the ability to transport you into a cinematic world, and is also someone who is obviously in control of every aspect of every frame. He is astutely aware that he is making a film that is certainly not for everyone, but if you submit to the ride he constructs in this, his seventh feature, you might not know what the hell just happened but you will know it has been an experience.

Inherent Vice will aggravate some viewers because of its confusing narrative structure, I certainly got lost and would have a considerable amount of difficultly explaining the plot. THIS IS INTENTIONAL SO DON’T WORRY. We are meant to get lost, the characters in the film don’t know what’s going on half the time, so how are we meant to know?

The protagonist is Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) a hippy P.I who loves getting stoned and remains so throughout the film and yes, I felt stoned watching it. Again this is deliberately and indeed brilliantly done. To create a film that gives the viewer a feeling of being high along with the main character, is not an easy feat to achieve, but I am quite sure, and I know some might not agree, PTA wanted to create that. However, I do think he should have put a little less in the joint he was passing out to the audience because if the story was a bit more coherent and I was little more aware of what was going on in the film I would have enjoyed it that bit more.

Nonetheless this a cinematic achievement by someone who is on top of their game. With the films he makes PTA challenges himself, and in doing so the audience. Each film in his back catalogue is different from the last and Inherent Vice is no exception. 

The long tracking shots that are often associated with a PTA film are overtly absent as too the large ensemble scenes, even though there is still, like most PTA films, a fantastic cast. They are replaced by extremely slow zooming shots that are hypnotic to enhance the dream like state the film aims to put you in. Also the majority of scenes are predominantly made up of just two actors carried by some interesting, albeit often confusing dialogue.

Not everyone will enjoy it but I will be pondering this film for a while, and that to me is one of the best things you can get from cinema. In fact as I finish writing this I get a new realisation of how good a film Inherent Vice really is.

No comments:

Post a Comment