Screengrab: Inherent Vice; smokey, a stoner PI classic

Richard Lutz rifles through the week’s TV movie listings and things get a wee bit hazy.

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I guess you would describe it as a stoner, noir, comedy crime thriller. Or something.

It’s a rambling, funky, twisty little film that might be the best which came out of the bowels of 2015 – Inherent Vice (Thurs, 17.45, Sky Movies Select). And it is the one that stands out in a so-so panorama of cinema slapped on your flatscreen in the next seven days.

The story is…well, it’s a bit hard to say. Private eye ‘Doc’ Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is a marijuana marinated detective in 1970’s Los Angeles. His ex-girlfriend (Katherine Waterston) disappears and he tries to investigate three separate cases that might be linked to her going AWOL. Or might not.

Director Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master, There Will Be Blood) must have bought a dope farm the size of Montana to re-create these smokey times from forty years ago. Doc seems to be lighting up all the time rather than getting down to business. But when he does and the plot snakes back and forth, he meets up with some crazy seedy characters played by a good solid cast: Josh Brolin, Martin Short, Maya Rudolph, Owen Wilson.

The film has bits of Elliot Gould’s The Long Goodbye in it as well as The Big Lebowski: No-one is really sure what is happening, neither the viewer (who may want to light up for enlightenment halfway through) or the characters. But Anderson is a firm hand on the tiller. This is exactly what he aims to do. After all, the move is based on the novel by super-mysterious author Thomas Pynchon.

Music is by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and  spookily narrated by squeaky-voiced musician Joanna Newson to give it that other-worldly feel. Some critics say it was the best film of the year. Well, maybe. Let me roll up a big one and think about that for a decade or two.

Meanwhile, hit your record button and watch it – advisably after midnight.