Inherent Vice is a new comedy drama directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Joaquin Phoenix as a down on his luck gumshoe. The film is based on a novel written by Thomas Pynchon who also has a cameo in the film.

The movie is set during the last days of the “free love” era and the beginning of an era of paranoia in America during the early seventies. Inherent Vice is a neo-noir detective story where Phoenix’s character, Larry “Doc” Sportello investigates a kidnap plot. An old flame of Sportello’s called Shasta Fay Hepworth (played by Katherine Waterston) is worried that her new boyfriend is in danger. She believes that her boyfriend who is a rich billionaire is about to be kidnapped and thrown in an asylum by his wife and her lover. Hepworth turns to Sportello for help and he decides to take on the case. While investigating the case he meets a whole host of oddball characters including surfers, hustlers, dopers, a crazy loan shark and the LAPD. Sportello himself is also an interesting character as he walks around with a disheveled appearance and he spends a lot of time stoned. He looks like a seventies version of “the dude” from The Big Lebowski.

Inherent Vice’s plot is classic noir stuff where the main character is drawn into some sort of conspiracy involving a femme fatale. The film has an interesting setting and a good cast including Benicio Del Toro, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson and Eric Roberts.

It will also be interesting to see what Paul Thomas Anderson does with this story as he has a unique style. His films are often eventful with unusual characters who all intersect with one another with often dramatic results.

The trailer is full of random encounters between Sportello and various characters that he meets while on the case. It also plays on the comedic aspects of the story as all the characters are larger than life and they act strangely. In some ways the trailer makes the film look more like a satire of the late sixties and early seventies period. It’s an effective trailer with a lot of humour and style.

Inherent Vice will be released on October 4th in the states and January 30th in the UK. Check out the trailer and share your thoughts.