The mythological vocabulary of Anderson wonders me more than it intrigues me, the case might as well be a dead end.
Anderson makes me happy. And Thomas Pynchon, a novelist whose book of the same name is adapted from, makes me frown, provokes me to think. What should a result be when these two sources rain in one project? The result is deliberately dubious, perilous and dazzling. Paul Thomas Anderson, the director, works as a catalyst in the film. For Pynchon is famous for his hefty complex material, Anderson is helping enormously to swallow this pill with as much as style and ease as possible. And this agenda clears his major dilemma of placing the vital plot elements into a coherent narrative arcs. For instance, Aaron Sorkin who writes in a similar heavy language, found difficult to picturize his own script on screen when he decided to direct Molly’s Game. Previously he had worked with Martin Scorsese, David Fincher and Rob Reiner whose methods he had to adapt to go through a thick binder of script in around 2 hours.
Fortunately, Anderson too, is the best one out there. And with a steady camera he allows you, as a viewer, to sensibly observe from a definite viewpoint. So that the passed on information, the gossip, the whispered secret is consumed properly. In fact, most of the direction follows similar camera work, usually it is panned towards the action with a straight path and a pace similar to the way the story develops. Also, he is focusing on just the heads of these characters that is analysed so thoroughly here. Since he never gives you a wider shot, despite creating a ’70s Los Angeles- usually a wider shot is expected and normal to get when a film has created set pieces from a different era- and worked so hard and beautifully on the production and costume design, the cinematography follows close-up shots to direct the narrator, who then directs us. The film has plenty of scenes to cover, from one incident to another and another, I find this method unsettling and irresponsibly in rush for a film.
Yet, when Anderson does it, there is awe in his work. Primarily because he threads all these crime scenes with painting like picturization and a sketch like formation- that is to say that each of the scene has an introduction, middle section and a final act to follow- that offers you little wins in every situation. He is also speaking with color and using not just the appealing neon light nature of it, but the contrast and the way it shadows a character. For example, take the first scene itself, where Sashta Fay Hepworth played by Katherine Waterston visits Joaquin Phoenix embodying “The Doc Sportello!” There is never an infusion of the neon blue and dying red color, the line that it meets on remain crisp and clean just like the film’s humor. Inherent Vice has a satisfying poignancy that a rare classic offers you.