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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Maio Mackay

Inherent Vice - 4 Stars

Psychedelic, crazy, thrilling mystery film is clever, but sometimes complicated and does feel a bit too long.

In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles detective Larry "Doc" Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.

This film is predominantly a crime-comedy, yet unlike most films in this genre it fully develops its central characters and brings them all to a point where you can either relate to, or at least understand them on a personal level. Joaquin Phoenix plays “Doc” and his performance is stunning, his subtle humour plays well with the crazy script and he also is able to capture the character’s sad and dramatic elements. Katherine Waterston is appropriately intriguing and delivers a strong performance. Owen Wilson, however is not as strong as the rest of the cast.

The film’s script and cinematography are also both clever and creative, making this an altogether strong film. Many people have complained that the film is confusing and doesn't always make sense and while I disagree with this, it does have a very complicated plot. The plot twists and turns frequently - you really do have to be focusing on every word to understand the entire film. With its running length of 148 minutes it is possible to tune out for a few seconds and in that time its very easy to lose track of what’s happening. So if you are easily distracted you may not enjoy this one!

Overall it is a clever film, with mostly superb actors, fantastic cinematography and a plot that relies on everyone being fully focused the entire duration of the movie. Inherent Vice was Oscar nominated, but has only just been released, so I do encourage you to go and check this one out now – but it is only playing in selected cinemas Australia wide!

4 Stars

Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay

Screening courtesy of Palace Nova Cinemas

Inherent Vice is only showing at Palace Nova Cinemas in SA

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