Inherent Vice 2014

Critics score:
73 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press: Despite the film's frustrations, it must be acknowledged that Anderson -- a master of the multi-strand, multi-character, multi-meaning plot -- is the perfect director to adapt Pynchon, in terms of both craft and spirit. Read more

Wesley Morris, Grantland: There are, of course, two ways to experience Inherent Vice: with the brain on or the brain off. Both work. The latter is a good time, the former more illuminating. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Makes Howard Hawks' legendarily confusing 'The Big Sleep' look like a model of narrative coherence. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: "Inherent Vice," meandering even by Anderson's standards, is easily the worst of his movies, a soporific 2 /₂- hour endurance test. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Since most of Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice was meant to be impenetrable, the best approach, as you watch it drift by, is to savor the dreamy images and druggy jokes and forget about penetrating the plot. Read more

Soren Anderson, Seattle Times: The picture is all over the map. Nothing coheres. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: Never quite transcending the sum of its agreeably disparate parts, IV is less groovy than gnarled and goofy, but in a studied way. Call it an acquired taste with a kinky savor. Read more

Scott Foundas, Variety: Anderson's seventh feature film is a groovy, richly funny stoner romp. Read more

Ben Kenigsberg, AV Club: The fact that perhaps 90 percent of the dialogue comes from Pynchon poses an authorship question that doesn't exist with Anderson's other movies. Still, the deftness with comedy and actors are at a level that few filmmakers working today could achieve. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: "Inherent Vice" is an aggressively weird movie, which you should take not as a warning but as a compliment and an invitation to see it, to let its stoner vibes wash all over you. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Anderson moves further from conventional storytelling with each new film, and closer to something more intuitive, more damning, more true. He hasn't made it there yet. God help us when he does. Read more

Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader: More than just an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel, the film engages with the author's literature on the whole, attempting a filmic analogue to his virtuosic prose. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Both times I saw "Inherent Vice," I experienced roughly the same contradictory responses: delight undercut by puzzlement, followed by a happier sort of puzzlement. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: [Paul Thomas Anderson's new movie] is a kind of companion piece to Altman's The Long Goodbye, and it's the sort of failure that only a director of his talents could make. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Inherent Vice lives happily on the outer limits, where the noir form and its history are at least as important as the content. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Some storylines conclude, some collide, others dissipate. But the film's main crime is this: It's boring. Read more

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: Inherent Vice is half-baked Raymond Chandler. With too much emphasis on the baked part. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: Offers a only a pale and narrow physical recreation of such a vibrant place and time. Read more

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: Trying to pare back Pynchon without killing the joke was the challenge. Anderson has done a remarkable job of replicating the crazy kaleidoscope of crime, dope and raunch the novelist conjured. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Although it's not as hermetic and impenetrable as The Master, Inherent Vice still comes off as a giant inside joke to anyone who hasn't read Pynchon's novel. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: Paul Thomas Anderson's hippie noir seems completely stoned: inarticulate, confused and prone to giggling at unknown jokes. Pynchon fans might tolerate it. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: "Inherent Vice" is not only the first Pynchon movie; it could also, I suspect, turn out to be the last. Either way, it is the best and the most exasperating that we'll ever have. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Anderson, as always, knows exactly what he's doing with the camera. Scenes are often staged in the haze of smoke or fog; sometimes characters are introduced late into the frame, or action happens just out of it. Read more

Ella Taylor, NPR: I love Anderson's ambition, but it is awfully hard to make a movie about a culture adrift that doesn't make its audience feel the same. Inherent Vice runs a punishing 148 minutes, not enough of which are funny or sad enough to hold us. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR: [P.T. Anderson] is a terrific stylist ... and the scattershot pleasures he's peddling in 'Inherent Vice' may well satisfy those who like style more than substance, or maybe who like their style with substances. Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: Phoenix's extraordinary performance pulls the movie's infinite strands together. But this twisty tale takes so many foggy turns that you'll want to approach it with a plan. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: Mr. Anderson has condensed the book with surgical precision, ditching certain subplots, characters and locales while retaining the novel's sociopolitical tug, barbed asides and chokingly funny details. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Inherent Vice is a sun-glared, neon-limned muddle of noir plotline and potheaded jokery that not only doesn't make sense, but actually seems to try hard not to. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: At first glance, Inherent Vice might seem to be a detective story. Look a little closer, however, and it becomes clear that this is Paul Thomas Anderson's idea of a comedy. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard Joaquin Phoenix is perfectly cast as the perpetually befuddled Doc, a private detective of sorts who immerses himself in pot in the Los Angeles of 1970. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Inherent Vice, brilliantly scored by Jonny Greenwood, is an Anderson head trip, impure jazz with a reverb that can leave you dazed, confused and even annoyed. But at no time do you doubt that you are in the hands of a master. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, I can't wait to see it again. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: I truly wanted to like the film. Unfortunately it is a huge letdown, an almost unbroken and utterly unsuccessful sequence of wrong choices. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Even with a third eye on your forehead and peyote in your bloodstream, you won't be able to follow this long and winding road any better than Doc does. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: Too often, the film gets distracted with things to giggle at, and breaks the spell. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: This "sunshine noir" bakes your brain, in a good way. Read more

Dan Callahan, TheWrap: Anderson seems to have lost all real pleasure in filmmaking; he seems to feel it's a kind of duty now, the weight of his various influences weighing him down and crushing the bright, grasping, sensitive artist who made Boogie Nights and Magnolia. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: As with Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love, the director has created another vivid Los Angeles, one that doesn't lean too hard on its pop-culture references to TV's Adam-12 or Neil Young's gentle Harvest album. Read more

Bruce Kirkland, Toronto Sun: Some may find it sour and even repulsive, with its pathological anarchy of flavours. Some will find it delicious, in a deliriously exotic manner. Count me in the second camp. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Think of it as a film that's meant to be experienced, more than fully understood. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice: A huge relief, as if a giant gas bubble had finally, with great effort, reached the surface of the pond with a cathartic blurp. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: It's actually less coherent than Pynchon, no small feat. It's not shallow, though. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: Cockamamie, kaleidoscopic, languidly compelling ... Read more