Doc prepares to bust open the case.

After doing research, Doc prepares to bust open the case.

Paul Thomas Anderson (“PTA” in the trade) is one of those people. If he’s behind a camera, I’m in front of the screen. Gimme, gimme, gimme.

A few months back, the trailer for his latest film Inherent Vice was released. Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short and a slew of other interesting actors in the trippy tale of Doc Sportello, a gumshoe in sandals, as he smokes dope, snorts blow and tries solving a corker of a case set in 1970 L.A.

The movie’s based on Thomas Pynchon’s novel of the same name. Pynchon is a writer with a cult following. I never waded into those waters, so I got the book and dove in. The guy can write, some passages are transformative. That said, I got a little over half way through the book and it was a confusing mess. I laid the novel down and never picked it up again. I just didn’t care.

I liked the movie much better– liked it enough to finish it at least. The performances PTA gets from his cast make the confusing tale fun to watch. Robert Elswit’s cinematography makes you want to pack a bag for the L.A. sun, and Jonny Greenwood’s score pluses the pretty pictures and powerful performances. Everyone delivers the goods, and Joaquin shines as usual.

Is it perfect film? No. It’s not a perfect story. It’s like an impressionist painting, there are strokes all over the place and with some distance, you get the true beauty and artistry of the picture.

Inherent Vice may try you at times, but it’s worth the ride.