The film, the first big screen version of a Pynchon novel, is
the Centerpiece selection at the 17-day fest that runs through
When the novel, set at the end of the free-loving 60s after the
Charles Manson murders, was published in 2009 it was described
as "part-noir, part-psychedelic romp."
The film is peopled with dopers, cops, drug dealers and a
government informant in counterculture California involved in a
convoluted plot about a missing billionaire property developer
and the private eye determined to find him.
Oscar-nominated Anderson, 44, ("The Master," "There Will Be
Blood") also wrote the screenplay that is faithful to Pynchon's
humorous thriller that pays homage to classic private eyes in
Hollywood crime films.
"It is beautifully written with some profound and deeply felt
stuff mixed in with just the best jokes and silly songs that you
can imagine," Anderson told a press conference.
Joaquin Phoenix, who worked with Anderson on 2012's "The
Master," is the long-haired, pot-smoking private detective Larry
'Doc' Sportello. He sports mutton-chop sideburns, sandals, lives
in beach house on the Pacific Ocean and runs LSD Investigations.
When a former girlfriend, Shasta Fay Hepworth, played by
Katherine Waterston ("Night Moves") returns and asks for his
help, Doc becomes embroiled in a search for the missing
billionaire Mickey Wolfmann (Eric Roberts), and a
saxophone-playing former heroin addict turned informant named
Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson).
The investigation pits Doc against tough-talking Lieutenant
Detective Christian 'Bigfoot" Bjornsen, played by Josh Brolin
("No Country for Old Men"), who has no time for hippies or the
beach and has an impressive flat-top haircut.
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The ensemble cast also includes Oscar-winners Reese
Witherspoon ("Walk the Line") as Doc's girlfriend Deputy D.A.
Penny Kimball and Benicio Del Toro ("Traffic") as the amusing
maritime lawyer who comes to Doc's aid.
"Bridesmaids" actress and Anderson's wife, Maya Rudolph, plays a
receptionist at Doc's office and comedian Martin Short is a
coke-snorting, over-sexed dentist.
Anderson captures the laid-back vibe and the 70s feel with period
costumes and music, and uses tight close-up shots and a narrator,
actress Joanna Newsom, who plays Doc's all-knowing gal pal
"There was so much good stuff that character could say from the book
it seemed helpful to the story and wouldn't step on it, or irritate
it, or subtract from what was going on, and hopefully add to it, at
its best," he said about the narration.
In an early review The Telegraph newspaper in London described the
film as "blissed-out bamboozlement."
"What’s clear from a bleary initial encounter ... is that the film
is stupendous," it added.
(Editing by Tom Brown)
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