Inherent Vice (2014)

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A pot-smoking Private Investigator is visited by his ex-girlfriend who asks for his help foiling a plot to have her wealthy new beau committed to a mental institution by his wife and her lover.

Inherent Vice is pretty much how I’d imagine Chinatown would play out if The Dude were investigating rather than J.J. Gittes. We follow a drug-addled Joaquin Phoenix during his convoluted investigation into a mysterious operation called “Golden Fang”, as he struggles to tell the difference between genuine threats and clues and his own drug-fuelled paranoia and lapses in memory. Josh Brolin provides most of the best moments as a hippie-hating hard-nosed cop and the quality supporting cast are all solid, but the plot is little more than a series of whispered info-dumps in a haze of pot smoke and it isn’t really funny enough to be considered straight comedy.

Certainly worth watching for the good performances and occasion flashes of brilliance, but in the extremely specialised field of Stoner Noir, The Big Lebowski still reigns supreme.

6/10

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