Inherent Vice (2015)



Critic Consensus: Inherent Vice may prove frustrating for viewers who demand absolute coherence, but it does justice to its acclaimed source material -- and should satisfy fans of director P.T. Anderson.

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"Inherent Vice," is the seventh feature from Paul Thomas Anderson and the first ever film adaption of a Thomas Pynchon novel. When private eye Doc Sportello's ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a looney bin...well, easy for her to say. It's the tail end of the psychedelic `60s and paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that "love" is another of those words going around at the moment, like "trip" or "groovy," that's being way too overused - except this one usually leads to trouble. With a cast of characters that includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, LAPD Detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists... Part surf noir, part psychedelic romp - all Thomas Pynchon. (C) Warner Bros

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Joaquin Phoenix
as Larry "Doc" Sportello
Josh Brolin
as Lt. Det. Christian F. "Bigfoot" Bjornsen
Owen Wilson
as Coy Harlingen
Katherine Waterston
as Shasta Fay Hepworth
Reese Witherspoon
as Deputy D.A. Penny Kimball
Benicio Del Toro
as Sauncho Smilax
Jena Malone
as Hope Harlingen
Maya Rudolph
as Petunia Leeway
Eric Roberts
as Michael Z. Wolfmann
Martin Short
as Dr. Rudy Blatnoyd
Sasha Pieterse
as Japonica Fenway
Joanna Newsom
as Sortilège
Taylor Bonin
as Ensenada Slim
Jeannie Berlin
as Aunt Reet
Serena Scott Thomas
as Sloane Wolfmann
Martin D. Dew
as Dr. Buddy Tubeside
Catherine Haena Kim
as News Reporter
Vivienne Khaledi
as Amethyst Harlingen
Andrew Simpson
as Riggs Warbling
Joe Dioletto
as Cop With Bigfoot
Sam Jaeger
as Agent Flatweed
Timothy C. Simons
as Agent Borderline
Jack Kelly
as Burke Stodger
Jillian Bell
as Chlorinda
The Growlers
as The Boards
Michelle Sinclair
as Clancy Charlock
Alina Gatti
as Howdy Dopers Phone Voice
Elaine Tan
as Xandra
Wilson Bethel
as LAPD Officer #1
Anders Holm
as LAPD Officer #2
Emmet Unverzagt
as Bigfoot's Kid
Osamu Saito
as Japanese Cook
Jefferson Mays
as Dr. Threeply
Martin Donovan
as Crocker Fenway
Jackie Michele Johnson
as Dr. Threeply's Assistant #2
Ralph Wagner
as Kimberly
Keith Jardine
as Puck Beaverton
Delaina Mitchell
as Mrs. Chastity Bjornsen
Michael Cotter
as Rhus Frothingham
Peter McRobbie
as Adrian Prussia
Shannon C. Sullivan
as Adrian Prussia's Secretary
Samantha Lemole
as Golden Fang Mother
Madison Leisle
as Golden Fang Daughter
Liam VanJoosten
as Goldan Fang Son
David Prak
as Buddhist Monk
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News & Interviews for Inherent Vice

Critic Reviews for Inherent Vice

All Critics (235) | Top Critics (47)

If the adaptation's a little too faithful to sustain a cinematically tight story, there's still a lot to admire in the sheer, uninhibited folly of the whole thing, the gall to get groovy while the Oscar-watchers are on high alert.

July 19, 2016 | Full Review…

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.

January 12, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Some storylines conclude, some collide, others dissipate. But the film's main crime is this: It's boring.

January 9, 2015 | Rating: D | Full Review…

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.

January 9, 2015 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

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.

January 9, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/4

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.

January 9, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Inherent Vice

Wants to be quirky and funny, but is mostly rather boring with a few amusing scenes. The druggy P.I.'s case is confusing and ultimately not particularly satisfying. At least a lot of stars move around in the picture, but even their good performances create very few memorable scenes or a coherent plot. Waterston sticks out with her performance, though.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer


The plot is overlong, extremely intricate - convoluted would be the exact word - and has way too many characters, but still this trippy private eye crime-comedy compensates for its flaws with a delicious, groovy '70s vibe, a great soundtrack and a hilarious dopehead humor.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

The main problem with adapting Thomas Pynchon is that Pynchon has written some of the most complex, trippy prose that has ever existed. Just reading his short story "Entropy" will confuse and educate you on the style and tonality of much of Pynchon's work. (Though that story includes aliens) A great way that Paul Thomas Anderson incorporates the madness and frivolity of Pynchon's words is having a narrator to spout it off constantly. Read more at

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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