in about 100 words or less
US 149m, Colour
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson; Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom
Based on the 2009 Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name, Inherent Vice is the nearly incomprehensible story of a 1970s era hippie PI whose investigations of a series of related events is complicated by the fact that he is likely stoned, most if not all of the time. If this film had family, I would argue that Big Sleep (1946) and The Long Goodbye (1973) were its parents, and its French cousin is named Alphaville (1965). This film is endlessly watchable if you are a film geek looking for references, otherwise it is probably best to avoid, especially if you are operating heavy machinery (Klaus Ming February 2015).