Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”
Paul Thomas Anderson's movies tend to be rigid and analytical until big emotional flourishes break the characters (and the movies) out of their unexciting rhythms. Here, closely adapting Thomas Pynchon's novel, he's severely deprived of those showy emotional outbursts, and consequently the film never snaps out of its low-key, exposition-heavy funk. It's a film that you appreciate with your brain but do not feel with your heart. That it could still manage to be an excellent production, worthy of its considerable critical praise, is testament to Anderson's talent; even the director's minor mistakes qualify as some of the most interesting films in cinema today. This blend of Chinatown's Angeleno mystery and The Big Lebowski's buzzed mellowness is an engrossing but ultimately unsatsifying stoner-detective movie.