In Los Angeles at the turn of the 1970s, drug-fueled detective Larry "Doc" Sportello investigates the disappearance of an ex-girlfriend]]>
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Top Customer Reviews
Director/writer Paul Thomas Anderson is known for some outrageous films ("Boogie Nights") as well as some just a bit "out there" ("There Will Be Blood"), both of which I loved. This modern film noir takes place in the Manhattan Beach area of L. A. In 1970. The era of the hippie has just about shut the door. Hippies are now "stoners." They're the same people, just a little older and sometimes must work. One of those people is "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix), who survives on doing some work as a private investigator. This is a step up from his previous job as a skip tracer.
While getting high one night, he is visited by his former girlfriend Shasta Fay Hepworth (Sam's daughter, Katherine Waterston in a breakout role). Before I go much further, one of the great things in this film are the character names, which were created by novelist, Thomas Pynchon. Shasta needs Doc's help because she's been having an affair with one of the big shots in town, a married real estate developer named Michael Wolfmann (Eric Roberts). And she fears he may have been kidnapped.
But there's more going on involving neo-Nazi gang bangers, black gang bangers, sleazy drug importing dentists, corrupt FBI and police officials and more. So much more that I quit trying to follow what was going on about half way through. My advice? Do the same. It really isn't all that important and if you concentrate on it too much, you'll miss some of the great sets, wonderful music, stunning photography and perhaps Joaquin Phoenix's best performance.
There are some other nice performances as well, most notable Josh Brolin as police Lt. Detective Bjornsen, also known as "Bigfoot.Read more ›
There is an eerie reminiscence of David Lynch here (particularly "Mullholland Drive" ," and the relatively obscure "Inland Empire"), and even a little bit of the corrupt LAPD of "LA Confidential" and even "Chinatown" through the Police Detective character (and others) of BigFoot, played adroitly by Josh Brolin whose marijuana eating episode was hilarious.
The movie, through the first half, seemed to wander and I was wondering if it was going to be a redux of Anderson's "The Master" or Lynch's "Inland Empire" that in my opinion, suffered a similar fate. But in the end it was well worth the wait, and the watch and stylistically it had some of the ensemble effects of Anderson's much earlier masterpiece, "Magnolia."
I felt the, often poetic and sometimes surreal, omniscient female narrator helped tie together what could have been a disjointed flop. The acting of the anti-hero Joaquin Phoenix also helped create a modicum of cohesion, as the everyman "private dick" of the sinful seventies in SoCal at its hedonic height.
His role in someways reminded me of the over the top, out of control sex and drugs (kind of rap singer) role, playing himself, in the documentary "Over The Top." I'm Still Here." But Doc did stay true to his code with the world imploding all around him. Even when he was going super crazy- and super heroic- when he was slipped a joint of PCP and extricated himself from an untimely end at the hands of Tinseltown thugs.Read more ›
It’s a movie that, for the most part, makes up for its flaws in the form of originality and gusto. From the first frame, it knows what it wants to be and continues to stick with that tempo right until the end. Because of this, it won’t be for everyone. It’s a psychedelic trip of a movie, taking you on a weird and interesting journey that has its fair share of goofy moments and unusual happenings.
The film centers around Doc Sportello (Phoenix), a private investigator who gets quickly wrapped up in the kidnapping case of a local billionaire land developer and briskly begins a search to find him. What he doesn’t realize is how hard that’s going to be, especially when he’s stoned out of his mind half of the time. So through the fog of marijuana and alcohol, he meets eccentric character after eccentric character, all in good fun. It’s just about as silly as it gets, but once you’re on board you succumb to the charming atmosphere of the whole thing and its weird look at the world. You’ve also got a great early 60s and 70s soundtrack that serves as the glue to keep everything together.
It’s definitely got several weak points, mostly in the pacing and a few scenes that seemed out of place (particularly when Martin Short shows up), but I liked it quite a bit. I found it refreshing amidst some of the more conventional things I’ve seen this year. If you like unordinary, quirky stories then this comes highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
love the story, good acting, great all around. watch it over and over again.Published 14 hours ago by sissymolly
About the most positive comment I can throw at this film is that it desperately tried to be edgy, vintage and original in a "hippy" way. Read morePublished 10 days ago by R. K.
I loved the crazy characters and the great story! It's a movie you can watch over and over again!
This movie had me develop a new respect for Joaquin Phoenix and made me... Read more
Comedy so unusually dark "Breaking Bad" in comparison seems light.Published 1 month ago by W. Harps
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