Release Date: Dec 15, 2014
Record label: Nonesuch
Genre(s): Soundtracks, Original Score
More melodic and accessible than his previous collaborations with director Paul Thomas Anderson, Jonny Greenwood's music for the film adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel Inherent Vice reaffirms that he is a versatile composer as well as a visionary one. Pynchon's tale, which follows a Los Angeles detective as he investigates the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend's boyfriend in 1970, is considerably more lighthearted than either There Will Be Blood or The Master, and Greenwood's music reflects mid-century L. A.
Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel Inherent Vice gave filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson an outlet for his more antic, erratic impulses. Paul Thomas Anderson's 2014 film Inherent Vice, meanwhile, gives composer and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood a chance to indulge his inner Hollywood romantic. As a composer, Greenwood has mostly been called on for slashing chords, thick string textures, and foreboding.
For the third time in as many films, the paths of director Paul Thomas Anderson and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood have crossed – and for the third time in succession they yield inspiring results. A partnership that began with the striking music for 2008’s There Will Be Blood was further enhanced by The Master – and now comes Inherent Vice, Anderson’s adaptation of the novel of the same name by Thomas Pynchon. Despite the wildly different subject matter between the three pictures Greenwood’s compositional approach is largely consistent, opting once again in favour of a string-heavy orchestra, and resisting the temptation to make any obvious musical references to the early 1970s, when the picture itself is set.
Some elucidation of quite what this release is seems a sensible way to begin this review. Inherent Vice is the latest film from Paul Thomas Anderson, based on Thomas Pynchon’s novel of the same name. It’s a darkly comic crime caper, riddled with the eccentricities of both director and author, and therefore provides quite the platform for Jonny Greenwood - no stranger to film scoring, of course - to weave his usual magic, whipping up the kind of stormy guitar work and brooding strings that has generally become his on-screen calling card through work on the likes of There Will Be Blood and The Master.