Inherent Vice is a psychedelic rock jam translated into a movie. We tag along as private investigator “Doc” Sportello takes a case for his ex after she’s moved on from the hippie lifestyle of the late 1960s and into the glamor with a violent undercurrent that would replace it. Life is treating Doc well, though something’s missing, and it’d be easy to say a coherent plot. The lively conversations and vibrant world are more important than plot, similar to these four examples:
The Big Lebowski
Doc seemed like the spiritual successor to the Dude yet he can keep pace with his rival “Bigfoot” Bjornsen. Both Doc and the Dude are affable losers that have carved out spots in the world free from judgement. Both movies have fun atmosphere with memorable characters and dialogue.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Doc didn’t fight against the loss of an era, and the realization that it’s time to wake up from the dream and return to reality, as much as Duke. Both Doc and Duke are content that their excesses manipulate their perceptions. Both movies freely indulge in these excesses to creative effect.
Acid Mothers Temple
The plot will seem to linger on minutiae for a time before returning to the plot, similarly to how the band will start with a main theme like “Pink Lady Lemonade” and then improvise for five to thirty minutes. Both are about getting there and not about the arrival.
Doc’s line, “I mean, just pretend to be professional,” has a staying power like an interaction with a zombie where a window pops up stating: “(he stares into your soul.)” Both have simple stories that are distractingly dressed up in evocative clothing.
I just bought Thomas Pynchon’s book, and intend to read it first, then rewatch.
Rating: ★★★★☆ [4/5]