Inherent Vice enhances the opinion that 2014 was a good year for the movies. Joaquin Phoenix, formerly the Man in Black in Walk the Line, is back, in the role of Doc Sportello, a private investigator. It is the appearance and then disappearance of an old flame, Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterston), who motivates him to at least get up off a chair. I can relate. At home on the Pacific Ocean, waves lapping rhythmically against the shore, with no interest in anything to the east, self-supported by a rather inconsequential practice at the end of a low-life hospital corridor, why move a muscle? Still, you know how it is, one thing leads to another, and it is either this, however inconvenient, or surrender your whole existence to sole proprietorship of the LAPD.
If only all that which follows were the unanticipated result of bad weed. If only. But there really is a “Bigfoot” (Josh Brolin). He not only stomps on people who make him angry, but despite therapy cannot convince his wife to like him. Throughout there are layers of mysteries, not just one or two question marks. Why does Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson) whisper when there is either no one around or an inebriated crowd so far out-of-it as to hardly matter? Further, dentists are forewarned not to bother. Their shady reputations, however slanderous, are unapologetically exploited. Then there is the Golden Fang, a beautiful ship with elegant sails. It has a seamy side, weighed not in ounces, but pounds, if not tons.
Also, the ACLU might want to get into it. The fella with a swastika tattooed on his face is portrayed as a psychotic villain. How stereotypical is that? More importantly, various factors are simply unrealistic, verging on sin for the detective genre, and its various, homologous spin-offs. What real estate magnate (though appropriately named Wolfmann) ever gives away every last cent to his tenants and clients? His “friends” pitch in to purchase a secluded seat in an asylum. Nice.
Brought up only in passing, I think it high time audible versions employ members of both sexes. I was having a ball listening, but when I realized I had eleven hours more, I switched to the film. Fifteen minutes later, I caught wind of the fact that I had made a crucial error. I also found out that the movie had a female narrator. Her name is French: Sortilège. This was less important, but relevant enough. Eventually, the final scene emerges together with the final music. A rather darkly lit, unrealistic shot. Two people still trying to communicate. It’s just a story, right? Just a movie. The last scene maybe derived from an earlier film. All set in the southwest portion of the Southwest. Then the credits. . . .