'Inherent Vice' premiere: Paul Thomas Anderson doesn't get bogged down by plot

October 5, 2014 2:27 AM

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Thomas Pynchon has written eight acclaimed novels, but no one had the brass to adapt one for the screen until Paul Thomas Anderson tackled Inherent Vice. The director’s second consecutive collaboration with Joaquin Phoenix was the centerpiece gala at the New York Film Festival, where it made its world premiere on Saturday. If the trailer for the film gave off a Big Lebowski vibe, that’s partially because both films are at least partially inspired by The Big Sleep, the classic 1946 noir with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. “I saw The Big Sleep and it made me realize I couldn’t follow any of it,” said Anderson, at a post-screening press conference. “And it didn’t matter, because I just wanted to see what was going to happen next anyway.”

The plot of Inherent Vice is equally impenetrable, a tangled web strewn with vivid characters from 1970 Los Angeles. Phoenix plays ‘Doc’ Sportello, a constantly buzzed private eye who’s drawn into a case of coincidences by the beauty who broke his heart, Shasta (Katherine Waterston). She’s been havi...

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