There Will Be Spliffs: ‘Inherent Vice’ Is a Bizarro Stoner Noir

October 5, 2014 5:56 AM

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In 1969, Southern California was enveloped by a gloomy, suffocating haze when Charles Manson and his followers committed a series of brutal murders in Benedict Canyon. The events left an unending chill over Los Angeles; the innocence of the ‘60s had officially been snuffed out. If Manson and his lunatic fringe represented a shockingly abrupt finale of peace and love, then Inherent Vice might be considered its death rattle––a universe looking to hold onto the last strands of an era that has long since passed.

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and based on the novel by author Thomas Pynchon, the film, which premiered Saturday at the New York Film Festival, is set in the fictional LA town of Gordita Beach. The story follows a bumbling, stoner P.I. named Larry “Doc” Sportello––played by a hilarious, mutton-c...

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