First Hit: It started reasonably strong and faded to boredom quickly.
The opening 15 - 20 minutes I found myself laughing at quips, turns of phrases, and drug induced behavior.
However, it began to wear on me as the film progressed and with the storyline being as confusing as the drug addled Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix), the path to enjoy the film dissipated into the realm of forgetful fantasy. By half way through, I found myself waiting for the end to arrive so I could leave. I don’t believe that is the intention of a filmmaker.
The best moments that kept the film somewhat alive were the bombastic statements from police Lt. Christian F. “Bigfoot” Bjornsen (Josh Brolin). He was funny and a great foil to Doc. I also thought the romantic scene between Shasta Fey Hepworth (Katherine Waterston) and Doc was interestingly and erotically well done.
Phoenix was oddly both interesting and mediocre. I kept thinking that a light would go on and he’d shine (the interest part) but it never did (the mediocre part). Brolin took this role by grabbing the bull’s horns and made it his own. At times it almost seemed like he was in a different film. Waterston was the most interesting character. Owen Wilson as Coy Harlingen was good in his limited but pivotal role. There was an amazing cast – but all seemed lost and faded into the montage of vignettes that were loosely aimed at an unclear plot. Paul Anderson both wrote and directed this film. Some of basis for his view of the drugged addled era he was projecting were not experienced based but story based and it showed. However, I loved “4012 The Strand” address was as a child I grew up in that area and recall “The Strand” well.
Overall: I got bored early and couldn’t wait to leave.