Inherent Vice

Inherent Vice

Paul Thomas Anderson (2014)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Joaquin Phoenix, who played a manipulated innocent in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, is nominally in control in the acclaimed auteur's follow-up. A gloriously rambling, dope-fogged detective yarn set in 1970, this will delight aficionados of both the "New Hollywood" era and of author Thomas Pynchon, whose dense novels have been deemed unfilmable. Playing Los Angeles PI "Doc" Sportello as a fuzz-faced countercultural update of Elliott Gould's private dick in Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye (whose milky look and period grain have been lovingly re-created by cinematographer Robert Elswit), Phoenix takes on two missing person cases: his hippy-chick ex (a lift-off performance from little-known London-born Katherine Waterston) and Owen Wilson's heroin-addict sax player. A labyrinthine investigation ensues via long, talky exchanges with cameoing stars including Reese Witherspoon, Martin Short and Michael K Williams, with Josh Brolin's flat-topped, straight-edge cop a constant ally-cum-nemesis. Taking in Black power, Aryan supremacism, drug smuggling and real estate, Inherent Vice does get over-entangled, but, despite the pot haze, a credible plot emerges and Anderson chalks up another triumph.


A drug addled private detective unwittingly becomes embroiled in an elaborate kidnapping case in Los Angeles during the 1970s involving an old flame, her billionaire boyfriend and his wife. Comedy drama based on Thomas Pynchon's acclaimed novel, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin and Reese Witherspoon.

Cast & Crew

Larry "Doc" Sportello Joaquin Phoenix
Lt Det Christian F "Bigfoot" Bjornsen Josh Brolin
Coy Harlingen Owen Wilson
Shasta Fay Hepworth Katherine Waterston
Penny Kimball Reese Witherspoon
Sauncho Smilax, Esq Benicio Del Toro
Dr Rudy Blatnoyd Martin Short
Hope Harlingen Jena Malone
Sortilège Joanna Newsom
Petunia Leeway Maya Rudolph
Japonica Fenway Sasha Pieterse
Tariq Khalil Michael Kenneth Williams
Michael Z Wolfmann Eric Roberts
Crocker Fenway Martin Donovan (2)
Sloane Wolfmann Serena Scott Thomas
Aunt Reet Jeannie Berlin
Jade Hong Chau
Clancy Charlock Belladonna
Xandra Elaine Tan
Puck Beaverton Keith Jardine
Adrian Prussia Peter McRobbie
Director Paul Thomas Anderson
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Other Information

Language: English / JapaneseColourTheatrical distributor: Warner BrosGuidance: Swearing, sex scenes, drug abuseAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 30 Jan 2015
Comedy Drama