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Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, Inherent Vice is… well, there’s no easy way to answer that. It’s a brilliant and beautiful glance into a forgotten age, a hazy waltz through a purposefully distracted decade with a stoned tour guide in the way of Joaquin Phoenix. It’s a complicated picture to sell, and yet, this full trailer from Warner Bros. does a damn good job of letting audiences know what they are in for when they grab a ticket.
The studio labels the clip "Paranoia" on its YouTube page, and with good reason. The amount of weed in private eye Larry "Doc" Sportello’s system means that he distrusts virtually everyone in his path… and his personal and professional uncertainty colors everything that we watch in Inherent Vice. How much of this is real? How much of it is skewed by Doc’s inebriated state? His viewpoint is never crystal clear, but that’s part of the entire picture’s shaggy-dog charms, and I really believe the trailer captures that.
The key word for the mood of this teaser is "psychedelic," because if nothing else, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film plugs directly into that loose and groovy wave, and you either choose to ride it, or you don’t. I can’t see much middle ground when it comes to the director’s latest picture, though reviewing the above trailer and remembering the sheer number of lunatic bits that he worked in, I suppose there can be some dissection and dissertation that will occur in the weeks following some screenings.
Here’s what you need to know for now. Joaquin Phoenix is back together with his The Master director, though they are dabbling in something that is as free-flowing and shapeless as that film was structured and rigid. That, however, is the point. The picture is ramping up its limited release schedule so that it can content for awards, but so far – with the SAGs being revealed today – the campaign is a slow starter, and Warner might need to ramp up its pitch.
Cities listed at the end of this Inherent Vice clip will get to check the movie out on Saturday, December 13, as part of an early screening series. The rest of you will have to wait, as Vice makes its way across the country. You are in for a puzzle. A riddle. A treat.