Inherent Vice
  • Groovy and fun depiction of 1970s Los Angeles
  • I had a good amount of LOL moments
  • Joaquin Phoenix and Josh Brolin are absolute highlights
  • Way too long (148 minutes)
  • Storyline is really non-existent (but that didn’t matter that much)
  • Typical PT Anderson, super complicated and slow movie
4.0Overall Score

A few weeks have passed since I am actually posting this review, but I want to still mention that Inherent Vice was part of an absolute power movie weekend.

  • Inherent Vice on Friday
  • Whiplash on Saturday
  • Selma on Sunday

Now, I really have a hard time finding the fitting words for this movie. I think complicated, weird, long on the one hand and groovy and fun on the other hand would be the most fitting adjectives. So to dissect it, I should maybe describe the respective adjectives and bring them into context…


It seems to be P.T. Anderson style to not make normal straightforward movies and well maybe I am somewhat of a simple person when it comes to movies. But often times the story, the characters and the narrative are a tad too “deep” for my taste. The intertwined relationships, the hidden political messages and introductions of different characters are just too … well complicated. I think there are fans out there who love exactly that about his movies  like There Will Be Blood or The Master but I have my quarrels with that because in the end, I want to be entertained more than anything else. And the complexity of his movies makes that often harder than it needs to be.


The weirdness of this film should not be taken as a negative point. It was actually refreshingly odd, mostly supported by the characters and their odd behaviors  eating up a piles of weed or just saying “groovy” all the time – seemingly be the same as the word “awesome” of today. And that was the unifying factor, literally everyone in this movie was super-weirdo. It was pretty fun to watch, and from what one could tell, the cast had a hell of time playing that out. Joaquin Phoenix was the spearhead of oddness as the main character – always stoned, always weird but always game-on. His character and the super-odd straight-on policeman Josh Brolin had fantastic screen chemistry; in addition all the small characters blended in really well into this crazy concoction of 70s caricatures.


Needless to say, a movie which surpasses the 120 minute mark is a long long movie. And well, either it has to run at Martin Scrosese pace at all times (like The Wolf of Wall Street) or it has have a very compelling plotline which keeps you engaged at all times. Well, truth to be told, this movie neither runs at a fast pace nor does it have a very compelling plot. It actually does not really have a plot at all and that made full-on engagement pretty hard. And we actually had some people leaving the theater. Having said that for a 165 minute movie with neither pace nor an awesome story, I was pretty well entertained which brings me to the next point.


Aside from all points mentioned above, I think it is fair to call this film groovy. I have been born in the early 80s, so I have no recollection of how it was to live and grow up in the 1970s (nor the 80s to be fair) and yet I feel this film probably did the best job out of many movies in a long time to transport this very feeling of being high all the time and just livin’ the life not thinking about tomorrow. At the same time having the “elite” and all those serious guys nabbing at the liberty of smoking weed, having sex and being a free spirit. All the characters were just so damn groovy, Joaquin Phoenix with his awfully overdone hair and Josh Brolin as his anti-picture were most memorable to me (even one month later).


The groovy and the fun part are not easy to separate but I can say for certain that I had fun watching this movie. There were a lot of moments (scared picture moment in the trailer is just one of them) where I did LOL in the theater. And a lot of it is the whole “not-giving-a-damn” attitude of the film and its characters. As stated above, the movie’s plot line is quite complicated and convoluted and thinking of it, it really doesn’t have an actual plot. What it does have is an assortion of fun characters in 1970s Los Angeles. They are all kind of crazy, they all don’t give a damn and they are all really really weird.

To sum it up

So what do I have to ultimately say, well the movie is complicated, long and weird but it is also groovy and lots of fun. If you have some time to spare and wish the 1970s back for a moment, this is the movie to watch.


Courtesy of

Courtesy of

  • Running time: 148 min
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller
  • Year: 2014

2 Responses

  1. Stephen

    Great review as always! I finished reading the book last week and watched the movie tonight.

    I felt the movie did a great job at portraying the quirky, odd, world Thomas Pynchon constructs in the book and it was pretty faithful to even fairly small details e.g. the weird frozen chocolate bananas Josh Brolin eats etc. I was particularly impressed at the casting – pretty much every character is perfect for the part as compared to the book (particularly Joaquin).

    I’d say a lot of the complexity that makes the film tough to digest stems 1:1 from the book, as Pynchon is known for his intertwined themes and characters and post-modern plot lines – but having said that, the plot is much easier to follow in the book than it is in the movie so I fully agree with your point.

    For me the only thing the film couldn’t quite capture is Pynchon’s incredible narrative voice, which is usually a string of cool, edgy poetry-prose which really make Doc Sportello’s world pop out of the page.

    • Armin Fakouhi

      Thanks for the comment my man 🙂 agree that movie was just uber weird but pretty entertaining


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