“Inherent Vice,” an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s seventh and funniest novel, is the seventh film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson—and the very first film adaptation ever of Pynchon’s legendarily inventive, culturally kaleidoscopic work. A surf noir, the story dives headlong into the smoky haze and neon afterglow of the American counterculture via a psychedelic spin on the classic detective yarn.
When private eye Doc Sportello’s ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a loony bin…well, easy for her to say.
It’s the tail end of the psychedelic `60s and paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” that’s being way too overused—except this one usually leads to trouble.
With a cast of characters that includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, LAPD detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists...it’s part California noir, part hallucinogenic romp, and an all-out cinematic homage to a Pynchonian world of far-out characters, dead-on insights and deep yearning.
Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with IAC Films, a JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company production, “Inherent Vice.” The film stars Oscar nominees Joaquin Phoenix (“The Master,” “Walk the Line”), Josh Brolin (“Milk”) and Owen Wilson (writer, “The Royal Tenenbaums”); Katherine Waterston (“Michael Clayton,” “Boardwalk Empire”); Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”) and Benicio Del Toro (“Traffic”); Martin Short (“Frankenweenie”); Jena Malone (“The Hunger Games” series); and musician Joanna Newsom. Five-time Oscar nominee Paul Thomas Anderson (“There Will Be Blood,” “Magnolia,” “Boogie Nights”) wrote and directed, based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon. Anderson also produced the film, together with Oscar nominees JoAnne Sellar and Daniel Lupi (“There Will Be Blood”). Scott Rudin and Adam Somner served as executive producers.
Anderson’s behind-the-scenes creative team included Oscar-winning director of photography Robert Elswit (“There Will Be Blood”), production designer David Crank (“The Master”), Oscar-nominated editor Leslie Jones (“The Thin Red Line”), and Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges (“The Artist”). The music is by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood.