Here’s a great delve of a movie; Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel about an LA P.I. investigating the disappearance of local businessman.
It’s a wonderful sprawling sunshine noir that’s hard to explain without revealing more but it works because there’s too much story. What you end up with is a sense of someone tipping their toe into a massive stagnant pool of corruption and fishing out that one thing, the one wrong that he can do something about. Joaquin Pheonix is great in the central role, Josh Brolin is intensely perfect as the personification of the backlash to the dream and Martin Short does his thing.
Very funny, kinda wistful, great soundtrack and, like There Will Be Blood (2007), a film that’ll demand repeat viewing.
If this is anyone’s film it’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s. It’s just plain terrible but it’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s. His segment, a real noir tale of a gambler who beats the wrong people, really hits the spot and in a better film would have been the set up that sent waves and started balls rolling through the titular metropolis. Here it stands alone and is left to take on a life of it’s own as a reminder of what could have been… instead we get funny looking Marv, boobs and plenty of wondering what the time is cos the screening started at 9.15pm and Josh Brolin’s voice is making it feel like 2.00am.
If you like this sort of thing you’d be much better off revisiting the original which still stands up. If you also like Joseph Gordon-Levitt you should check out Brick (2005), Looper (2012) and the criminally under seen The Lookout (2007), a great trio of modern noir movies.