Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Opens December 12
“Then the blue shadows will fall all over town,” runs a line from “Any Day Now,” a pop lament for a lover who’s left for good, and played over the end credits for Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest sui generis, funny-sad feature. As Doc Sportello, P.I., in Inherent Vice Joaquin Phoenix makes his first, mutton-chopped appearance bathed in a dread blue, right when that certain someone (Katherine Waterston) turns up one night with a problem that sends him on a Thomas Pynchon whirligig-wander through connections and conspiracies and suspicions dimly perceived through pot smoke and California glare. While it’s all set on “Gordita Beach, 1970,” at the hyper-chronicled and -mythologized long goodbye to the 60’s and its cultural-political flameouts, the heart of Inherent Vice beats (or palpitates) with Doc’s concern for one Shasta Fay of the heavy lids and rueful pained expression.