Paul Thomas Anderson expertly channelled the writings of cult author Thomas Pynchon with this groovy, funny, mystery set in 1970 during the dying days of free love.
The zig zagging story follows weed and beach-loving private detective Doc (Joaquin Phoenix) who takes on a missing persons case for a troubled ex-girlfriend. Nosing his way into a conspiracy involving a cast of characters that includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, LAPD Detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang (which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists!), it’s fair to say the complex plot is unapologetically weird. Just embrace it, this is blissed-out bamboozlement of the highest order that does a remarkable job of replicating Pynchon’s crazy kaleidoscope of crime, dope and raunch.
With the likes of Josh Brolin, Martin Short, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro and Owen Wilson as just some of the great supporting cast, it also features a Johnny Greenwood score that reflects perfectly mid-century L.A.'s seedy underbelly. With an accuracy that few other filmmakers could match, Anderson captures perfectly the tone of Pynchon’s intricate blend of intrigue, humour and philosophy, as well as the novel’s sense of dislocation and head-scratching befuddlement.