Monday, January 19, 2015

Doper Noir

How to describe this movie?   

It is the perfect filmic equivalent of a marijuana high, where (1) everything is connected but nothing makes any sense; (2) you can see it all so clearly, but when you look at it, it hurts your head; and (3)—it all adds up as long as you don’t try to total the numbers. 

It’s a showcase for Joaquin Phoenix, so if you don’t like him, you’re going to be pissed, because he’s in every scene. 

It’s a cross between The Big Lebowski (the movie that makes you wish somebody had cast Jeff Bridges as Neal Cassady) and The Long Goodbye (the movie that makes you wish somebody had cast Sterling Hayden as Ernest Hemingway).   

It’s a stoner version of Chinatown, where all the women look alike and have the exact same tan.

It’s a movie whose plot has nothing but loose ends that are tied up with even looser knots—a plot that involves adultery, real estate developments, drug smuggling, the FBI, people who vanish, people who reappear, people who are supposed to be dead, mysterious foreign gangs, a narrator who may or may not be real, and one angry-ass cop who is like the hate-fuck child of Jack Webb’s Joe Friday and John Goodman’s Walter Sobchak. 

To paraphrase Freewheelin' Franklin, it's an object lesson on how characters will get you through films with no plot better than plot will get you through films with no characters.

It’s like being at a party where the moment you recognize people, they disappear. Look—there’s Jefferson Mays!  (Aw—you blinked.)  Look—that’s Maya Rudolph!  When is she going to get to do something?  Never?  Crap.  Is that Reese Witherspoon?  And wasn’t that guy in The Wire?  And wait—it’s that guy!—Eric, Eric Something—uhp, he’s gone now. 

It's a roller coaster ride where, at every slow turn, Josh Brolin will break down your fucking door and charge you with resisting arrest.

And as you might expect, it’s a movie that demands to be watched while eating Double Stuff Oreos.




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