Inherent Vice (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 22-Jul-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy / Drama Featurette-Four Short Scenes/Trailers
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 148:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Joaquin Phoenix
Josh Brolin
Reese Witherspoon
Owen Wilson
Benicio Del Toro
Martin Short
Maya Rudolph
Jena Malone

Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Johnny Greenwood


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Chinese
Czech
Greek
Hungarian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Russian
Thai
Turkish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

Many years ago, when VHS was king, a friend lent me his copy of The Big Sleep, a film notorious for the complexity of its film noir plot. Along with the film my friend provided an A3 sheet on which was scrawled a whole series of diagrams connecting characters to each other in a bold attempt to make sense of the often incomprehensible.

At times such a diagram was needed when watching Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film Inherent Vice. For this is a crime and comedy film where each turn in the plot leads to another inexplicable hallway in a labyrinth. Anderson can't claim all the credit or take all the blame for the baffling plot. The film is based on a well-known novel by American writer Thomas Pynchon which has regularly been described as unfilmable. For some movie fans the film is an unstructured mess and for others it is a joyous shaggy dog story. It all depends on the way you look at it…

Things get strange right off the bat as soon as you realise that the film is being narrated not by a Hollywood star but by indie folk icon Joanna Newsome, last seen watching in dismay on Portlandia as some inept roadies attempted to stuff her harp into the back of a small car. Her narration doesn't attempt to clarify the plot, but rather gives an idea of the mood of the film.

The 60s are over. In 1970 Los Angeles Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) a private detective and frequent drug user gets a visit from an old girlfriend. She is in distress. She is having an affair with a wealthy property developer however things have taken a scary turn. The developers wife has formed a plan with her own lover to have the developer committed to a mental institution. Doc agrees to look into it.

That's just the start of the mysteries. As Doc goes about his aimless investigations he gets caught up in other stories and tangles with his collaborator/nemesis Detective Bigfoot (Josh Brolin). There are a whole lot of mysteries and dark deeds going on in Los Angeles and Doc seems to be at the centre of it.

Inherent Vice is like a screwball comedy into which a detective story has been dragged, kicking and screaming. As Doc investigates he comes across White Supremacist bikies, Black Power, police informing saxophone players, drug smugglers and the mysterious Golden Fang!

Anyone who approaches this film with a view to making sense of the story will find it unrewarding however the joy of the film is in the cascading stories and the funny characterisations from the amazing cast which includes Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro and Martin Short. The script earned a well deserved Oscar nomination.

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Transfer Quality

Video

  

Inherent Vice comes to Blu-ray in the cinematic 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

The film was shot on 35mm film instantly giving it the look of a 1970s movie. It has a lifelike appearance with flesh tones that are accurate and colours that look genuine. There is a predominance of era specific tones expressed in the excellent visual design.

The print is clean and clear and the transfer is without obvious blemishes.

There are subtitles in English, as well as English for the Hearing Impaired, two Chinese subtitles, Korean, check, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Thai and Turkish.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

Inherent Vice carries as its prime audio track an English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack.

The disc also includes an English Dolby Digital 5.1 descriptive audio track and dubs in Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Thai and Turkish.

This is a good quality soundtrack with nice sonic separation and subtle use of the sub-woofer.

However, there is a lot of drugged out rambling, principally from Doc, which is difficult to hear-intentionally so.

The score is by now frequent collaborator Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead fame. It is another interesting track.

There are no technical problems with the soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

The Blu-ray includes only a few extras.

They are in the nature of trailers for the film or better yet snapshots of the characters.

They are an odd accompaniment for an often odd film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

  

This Blu-ray is identical to the Region A release.Buy local.

Summary

   

Inherent Vice is to crime comedy is as There Will Be Blood and The Master were to straight dramas. It is odd and at times spiky - like Doc it is sometimes difficult to love but always stylish and fascinating. It is destined to be a cult movie and is definitely worth a look.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge Audio 752BD All Region Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayJVC DLX 700 with 4K e-shift on 140" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC -LX 78K 9.2 Channel
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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