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Did the modern society miss its chance to achieve something big in the 60’s and 70’s…?

Inherent vice

It’s been some time since I first saw the trailer for “Inherent vice” and liked it. It seemed free, dopey and careless enough to make me want to experience it.
And after all – this is Paul Thomas Anderson’s work. Not that I am a strict follower of his films, but they all show some resemblance to each other.
It is not that easy to represent the social tides in a truthful to the original manner. And the director has done it again. I very much liked his movie “The Master” and “Inherent vice” is even better and more sophisticated in a way.

First I have to give it all to the actors – Joaquin Phoenix, Katherine Waterston, Josh Brolin. All of them perfectly cast and gladly enjoyed as late hippie-era characters. They represent very good this feeling of almost getting what you want, but not exactly. As there is no full happiness, so there is no full description of that epic era of social change. The early 1970’s is the time when these people began to lose momentum and were already feeling the pressure which the state was apply on them.

This counterculture has grown to a point where it threatened the established order and power distribution. And that is why the hippies were denied their rightful position in society and this tendency became a symbol of a movement led by outsiders, strangers from the mass. But this is not what it is, this is not what it should be.

My main impression from this movie is that the director wants to convey his vague impression of what we as people could have been and could have done, if history hasn’t been led by powerhouses which exploit the natural human fears, weaknesses and desires. All the characters of this film are aware that they are not in control of their lives, they are unsatisfied, they strive to achieve more, but cannot do so, because they are influenced, led, used and left behind. Only “Doc” is drifting as an ambiguous epitome of self sufficient libertarian hippie. He and his delusional ex-girlfriend Shasta coincidentally repeat twice the slogan of the movie (at least I think that this is it) “This doesn’t mean that we’re back together. – Of course not.”

It is most important to note that we don’t see a coherent storytelling or sequential human relationships, turning a plot into a message. We witness a fragmented story of characters which live in a time which is different than the one they were born into. For me it is crucially important to feel the emotional state and the atmospheric resemblance of this film and to share it. Because one cannot rationalize what is already lost, but can experience this reminiscence of counterculture ideas and epicurean lifestyle.