Inherent Vice - SPOILERS!

Started by MacGuffin, October 01, 2014, 02:10:50 PM

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modage

Quote from: Something Spanish on March 02, 2015, 08:34:07 AM
probably thomas jefferson hallucination.
Oh shit, of course. That's what that is. Yep, good call.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

Alexandro

This is an endlessly hypnotic and entertaining movie. Not in the usual, audience friendly way, but in how it demands from you to be alert the whole time. Really, you can't do as much as blink during this film without missing some important development. I don't agree that this is a film where is best to not pay attention to the plot because it's so dense. I mean, that's all they talk about, and it's not like the film leaves that unresolved. The thing is that PTA is basically continuing what I've always felt was the most distinctive feature in The Master, which is the "nuts and bolts" approach to the narrative and editing.

I saw IV and tried my best, but by the end it was clear there were things I just didn't understand, characters I didn't fully grasp where they came from and why they were there, and a few details that when I re watched the next day turned out to be important. And yes, of course on second viewing the whole who dunnit plot was crystal clear, and the melancholic atmosphere more resonant. I commented about The Master that the film goes from scene to scene with such a fast tempo and dealing only with the most essential information (visual, narrative, performance wise) that audiences cannot keep up with it, give up and then accuse the film of being slow. With IV the same is happening (slow is now accompanied by incoherent), even though there are no loose ends in this film, beyond the unimportant details of how the Golden Fang works or it's actual reach in this world. The thing is that just like in The Master, this film is not waiting for anyone.

Take the first scene, where the plot is set. It just starts. And characters waste no time explaining anything to us more than once. If you don't follow the intricacies of this setup only in this one scene alone, you're already lost before the 10 minute mark. The film keeps this pace all through it. Essential information (again plot-wise, character, visual, narrative-wise) is given like a clock, and it's a testament to PTA's brilliance that within this merciless discipline he manages to create a languid, relaxed and at the same time funny, paranoid and melancholic mood. The Master's story is like an Aesop's fable compared to the complexity of IV's plot, with many places, names, references, thrown in scene by scene. Sure, the film aims to portrait confusion and the feeling of being lost in a haze, but it's not actually abandoning it's plot and it's main character's essentials (it has been already been brilliantly pointed out here that Doc's arc has to do with recovering SOMETHING in light of his loss of Shasta, who's definitely gone after her first scene, and that something materializes in helping Coy to return home).

I'm very excited by what PTA is doing with narrative cinema. He might just be the only filmmaker within this trend to be actually exploring new ground and finding new ways to do strictly narrative films. I know he's an Apichatpong fan, but unlike him and many other auteurs who are basically on the other end of the cinema spectrum, he feels no need to extend takes endlessly or fill minutes with silence as a way to contemplation. He does the opposite, and I think he's on to something really special.

jenkins

Quote from: Alexandro on March 03, 2015, 11:48:26 AM
I don't agree that this is a film where is best to not pay attention to the plot because it's so dense.

not that it's best, that it's possible. liked your post and i just wanna further bolster the idea that iv is appreciable through direct engagement. if you're referring to what i've said. if you're referring to something someone else has said, oh i'm including myself in the conversation for no apparent reason, that's all

03

i think we all need to accept that this is his worst film and move on. please.

Alexandro

no, jenkins, I was not referring to something you said, just that after seeing it and checking out some metacritic reviews, some of the overviews mentioned an approach like that, which seems to me to suggest that since the film's plot is incomprehensible we should just enjoy the vibe. of course is possible but it's not that kind of film, like the big lebowski, where the understanding of the plot is independent of the enjoyment of the humor and spirit of the film to the point that you could almost do fine without it. this isn't the case because the basic plot of inherent vice is a representation of the film's thesis that 60's counterculture was absorbed by 70's disillusionment and paranoia, and it's not incomprehensible. it just isn't. that's an objective observation.

03, if this is his worst film then it's a worst film better than most films. I'm no longer rating this dude's films because they're all too good and unique to rate them in relation to each other. I don't understand....you are saying this because you think what I wrote is a stretch? A way to justify the film in light of certain (very lazy) criticisms? i'm just sharing what I feel, man.


03

nothing that i said had anything to do with you whatsoever.

jenkins

Quote from: Alexandro on March 03, 2015, 11:58:42 PM
no, jenkins, I was not referring to something you said, just that after seeing it and checking out some metacritic reviews, some of the overviews mentioned an approach like that, which seems to me to suggest that since the film's plot is incomprehensible we should just enjoy the vibe. of course is possible but it's not that kind of film, like the big lebowski, where the understanding of the plot is independent of the enjoyment of the humor and spirit of the film to the point that you could almost do fine without it. this isn't the case because the basic plot of inherent vice is a representation of the film's thesis that 60's counterculture was absorbed by 70's disillusionment and paranoia, and it's not incomprehensible. it just isn't. that's an objective observation.

the movie's thesis is part of its substance, and it works comprehensibly on a first pass through subjective observations between the movie and the audience, you ask me

it's a pta/pynchon movie and of course the more you look into it the more there is. i just think it'd be healthy for pta fans to realize what topics they're more interested in than most everyone else who watches movies. like, you can go to the beach for a stroll or you can go to the beach with a metal detector, but the point is you went to the beach

03

i'll explain, what i said wasn't directed at anyones review or feelings of this film.

i LOVE inherent vice, don't get me wrong.
but i think that die hard pta fans are liking this film because its a pta film.
i am totally guilty of this.

my problem with this film comes from what pta said of the writing process. and i think they ruined the film.
1. he LITERALLY wrote out the entire book in script form.
2. he was worried about not doing a pynchon movie well.

everytime he's adapted any literature or source material, it has been through his words and filtered through his imagination and all of the shit we love about pta. this movie is basically a visual audiobook of inherent vice read by paul thomas anderson. and that is why it doesnt work.

tell me i'm wrong.

modage

Well PTA has said that being too faithful ruins a lot of adaptations so he tried hard to (after the transcribing phase) not be too precious with it and make it its own thing while still retaining the spirit of Pynchon which I'm sure having P on the line helped with.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

wilder

I feel like the fact that Doc sort of saunters through everything, observes languidly, his pace doesn't really change — you get something from that, just visually. The body language element is a big deal. It's an attitude... You could turn off the sound and the camera's perspective of the events (with Doc) tells you quite a lot in cinematic terms, despite people's describing it as "boringly shot", both in the staging and the flow.

polkablues

This is the hardest I've ever agreed with 03 on any point, and very neatly sums up my feelings on the film. The thing I love most about PTA films is that they're a direct line to HIS artistic worldview, HIS subconsciousness. IV is not that; it's Pynchon's artistic worldview, visualized by PTA. Which is fine, that's what he set out to do, but Pynchon's worldview isn't particularly interesting to me in the way that PTA's is.

It's the furthest thing from a bad movie, and I get really frustrated reading some of the lazy criticism of it I've seen elsewhere on the internet, but it accomplished the one thing that PTA movies, as wide and varied as they've been, have never accomplished before: I don't have strong feelings about it one way or the other. I don't find myself wanting to revisit it or analyze it or emulate it or even really try and figure out why I didn't connect with it. I saw it and it was good and that's it.
My house, my rules, my coffee

Gold Trumpet

Yea, I agree with 03. Very entertaining film but lacks a lot of distinct qualities. It's doing its best to play coverage for the book and get everything into a seamless and working order. I kept thinking of PTA as a good editor and when I was thinking about praising scenes or writing, I kept wondering if I should have been complimenting Pynchon more. PTA may be too big of a fan of Pynchon and reluctant to make any major changes. It has its fallbacks. He could have reduced his vision of the book to trying to hyper realize the tone of parts of the book, but again, that would have resulted in heavy editing. I really do think PTA fell in love with the book and loved all the hijinks and characters. He wanted to nudge too many things together instead of expand upon possibly awesome scenes. Some scenes just passed by too quickly. It was all on clock-like progression to get all the major book moments into order. However, I do think since There Will be Blood, Anderson has found the realism that will likely dominate the rest of his filmmaking career. He feels very comfortable and even if I wasn't the biggest fan of Inherent Vice (still enjoyed it a lot), I think it's a great fit for him.

jenkins

you guys are just pta dieheards agreeing with each other about not liking the movie as much as you guessed you would, since you're so diehard and everything

which i love, and how is that not a distinctive feature itself?

Alexandro

Not in my case. I sincerely love this film on it's own. Can't take it out of my mind. If this exact same movie had been directed by someone else, I would be seriously blown away by this new genius.

Jeremy Blackman

I agree with polka and 03, which was probably already apparent from my review. It's not bad, but I do think it could be his weakest film. I can sincerely accept it as an interesting diversion, but for the sake of his future filmography, I hope it is just that.
Living life big time