I really love Pynchon’s books, but I haven’t read the one that this film is based on (yet). If I had the film might have been a disappointment, though the reviews are mainly so bad that my expectations had already been managed sharply downwards.
In fact it turned out to be pretty good – I didn't find the voice-over narrative at all annoying, as some critics have suggested it would be – it was an opportunity to enjoy some Pynchon-esque language, though that is also well represented in the dialogue.
It’s a bit of an art director’s film, in that it looks great – you can almost smell the grease on the hippie characters’ hair and the dirt on their feet. The textures are all there too, and the film is suffused with sex even though not much of it actually happens on the screen.
There were times when I literally lost the plot, as I've done in the novels too. I think that’s partly because it sits somewhere between a detective story and a parody of one, so that the plot is deliberately over-complex with lots of telegraphed twists and turns – and I'm not sure it actually makes sense as a whole. I must read the book.
Great soundtrack, somewhat spoiled by the fact that the North Finchley Vue Cinema insisted on playing it through a speaker slightly smaller than the one on my phone, and stuck in the bottom left hand corner of the screen. And while we’re on the subject of the venue, why whack the air-conditioning up to max on what must have been one of the coldest nights of the year? Just saying.