Sunday, December 7, 2014

Paul Thomas Anderson's new film "Inherent Vice" at Landmark Theatres: Dec 19 - Feb 5

The highly anticipated adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's "Inherent Vice" by Paul Thomas Anderson makes it's way to the Landmark Theatres chain after it's premier in this summer's New York Film Festival. Much of the festival coverage making it the focus of analytic pieces aiming more at the 'can't miss' nature of the two artists vision in a shared vector, titles like Los Angeles Times' "Inherent Vice' and the Contemporary Cult Hit" pretty much say it all. P.T. Anderson has gained no small amount of notoriety since his stepping away (or sideways) to the period-centric magic realist comedies of his Millennium films. Most notably with his aping Stanley Kubrick and Terrence Malick in "There Will Be Blood" and the more successful maturation seen in his tackling of Scientology and the post-War American psychological landscape in "The Master". Yet in no way does Anderson's cultural status even begin to approach the near-mythic held by one of contemporary literature's most cryptic and compelling figures, that of "Thomas Pynchon and the Myth of the Reclusive Author".

Both the author and his works can be impenetrable, and it's as though Anderson smartly recognizes Pynchon‎ can't really be squeezed into the constraints of cinema anyway, so why make a conventional narrative film? Instead we get a bounty of moment-to-moment depictions of life in slow-motion unfolding, running the gamut of dope fugue, epiphanous reveals, tense interrogations, paranoid immobility and love's confessional surrender. Pynchon’s novel set in 1970's California has been condensed with a good eye for the essentials amidst a typical abundance of content on offer in the book. Ditching a extended drug trip and Vegas subplot only mentioned in passing, while retaining the novel’s sociopolitical aura, sharp banter and convulsive hilarity. All of this through a diffuse atmosphere of memories, connections and recollections spinning a tapestry of intuition, paranoia and "Dream Horizons and Phantom Vibes of 1970 California", that may or may not accurately reflect the world and the (often eccentric) characters that populate it. Marking a return to the comedic spirit of his earlier work, he also branches into new territory, weaving a complex hierarchy of power, politics, television, wealth, corruption and influence underpinning the American dream. The effect is one where Anderson interpreting Pynchon watches like you would imagine the Coen Brothers' adapting Vonnegut, it's all "Noir Days of Sun, Los Angeles Smog and Marijuana Haze".