SYNOPSIS: From Paul Thomas Anderson and Thomas Pynchon, it's the tail end of the psychedelic '60s and paranoia is running the day from the desert to the sea of sunny Southern California. With a cast of characters that includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, the FBI, LAPD detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover, a group of Beverly Hills dentists and a mysterious entity called The Golden Fang, everything's gone from "groovy" to "where you at, man?" in what seems like a matter of moments. So when private eye Doc Sportello's ex-old lady Shasta Fay shows up at his door with a story about her current billionaire land-developer boyfriend and his wife and his boyfriend... well it all starts to get a little peculiar after that. Maybe you'll just want to see the movie?


You are probably gonna get a throbbing headache after watching Inherent Vice unless unconventional is something you craved. But because it is a Paul Thomas Anderson movie and stars one of Hollywood’s weirdest talents, Joaquin Phoenix, you will likely be coax on a hippie ride with these guys.

Based on a book by postmodernist author Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice is a warped, at times funny outing involving a private investigator “Doc” Sportello (Phoenix). It’s intentionally confusing as well so it’s best to equipped oneself with a tiny notebook to scribble down the bits and pieces of details.

For a start, “Doc” is tasked by his former girlfriend, Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterson) to help prevent her current billionaire boyfriend from being locked up in an asylum by his wife and lover. However, before you know it, “Doc” has taken on a second case, a bad debt between the Black Guerrilla Family and Aryan Brotherhood. To further escalate the convoluting plot, “Doc” is then hired by an ex-drug addict; Hope (Jena Malone) to look for her missing husband, Coy (Owen Wilson).  

One thing leads to another. Numerous subplots appear before you even know it. And the narrative quickly transformed into a challenge to follow not to mention countless of oddballs characters cruising in and out of Doc’s world. What the hell is The Golden Fang? Who is this sex craving pedophile dentist, Dr Rudy Blatnoyd (Martin Short)? Basically it’s not really a whodunit affair; it’s more of a whatisit?

Even repeated viewings might not guarantee an understanding of the entire plotting. But you can’t deny the latest outing from Anderson is both kaleidoscopic and looney. Add to it a parade of stars which also include Josh Brolin as Detective “Bigfoot”, Benicio del Toro as Doc’s lawyer and Reese Witherspoon as a district attorney and you have one of this year’s most sizzling and befuddling movie. Or if you prefer, this is bold filmmaking in progress.    


As fanciful as they sound, Los Paranoias, Shasta Fay and The Golden Fang are just trailers. The only exception is Everything in this Dream which is a deleted scene.


Audio in general is excellent. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the DVD transfer especially when the scenes calls for some low-end muttering from the characters. One of the very few movies that are shot on film these days, Inherent Vice is showcased beautifully by the cinematographer and for a lack of a better word, excellent. 



Review by Linus Tee



Genre: Drama/Comedy
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Maya Rudolph, Jena Malone, Martin Short, Jordan Christian Hearn, Joanna Newsom, Serena Scott Thomas, Jeannie Berlin, Michael Kenneth Williams, Hong Chau, Eric Roberts
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Rating: M18 (Drug Use and Sexual Scenes)
Year Made: 2014


- Los Paranoias
- Shasta Fay
- The Golden Fang
-  Everything in this Dream


Languages: English/Portuguese/Thai
Subtitles: English/Mandarin/Cantonese/Korean/Bahasa Indonesia/Thai
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 2 hrs 29 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: HVN Entertainment Singapore