Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice has been slotted as the centerpiece for the 2014 AFI Film Festival in Hollywood. This comes on the heels of its world premiere at the just concluded New York Film Festival, where the film received a mixed reaction from critics and festival attendees. The film, which is based on the 2009 Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name, will be unveiled on November 8th at the historic Egyptian Theater with Anderson expected to stick around following the screening for a conversation.
Taking place in the 70s, the drug-fueled crime comedy stars Joaquin Phoenix as Doc Sportello, a Los Angeles detective investigating the disappearance of a former girlfriend. The sprawling ensemble cast includes Owen Wilson, Josh Brolin, Jena Malone, Katherine Waterston, Eric Roberts, Martin Short, and Reese Witherspoon – a sign that perhaps Anderson has returned to using large casts just as he did in his breakthrough features Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1999). The film has been likened to Howard Hawks’ classic noir The Big Sleep (1946) and Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye (1973), yet has already divided critics who called the film masterful and confusing within the same breadth.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy said the film, “Offers a only a pale and narrow physical recreation of such a vibrant place and time,” while Variety’s Scott Foundas more favorably said, “Anderson’s seventh feature film is a groovy, richly funny stoner romp.” This is the first film adaptation of one of Pynchon’s novels, a writer whose books many have opined are un-filmable. Inherent Vice will open in limited release on December 12, followed by a wide opening on January 9, 2015.
Inherent Vice‘s placement at AFI Fest follows that of three other highly-anticipated titles already in the mix at the festival this year. J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, will make its world premiere as the opening night selection. The Gambler, starring Mark Wahlberg and Brie Larson, from director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) will also have its world premiere at the festival, and Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller’s fact-based drama starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum, will close out the festival that runs in Hollywood from November 6-13th.