The following contains pseudo-spoilers for both Inherent Vice and Chinatown. Nothing specific about either film. Just thematic stuff. You have been warned...
"Chinatown is a pretty good metaphor for the futility of good intentions. Police officers are told to do as little as possible in Chinatown in the way of law enforcement because you never know whether you're helping to avert a crime or helping to commit one."
Robert Towne (screenwriter)
There are plenty of reasons to love Inherent Vice. There's beautiful photography, amazing acting, hilarious gags, touching drama and an awesome soundtrack. But more than anything I love Inherent Vice because it is the anti-Chinatown.
Now don't get me wrong, I loves me some Chinatown. I've re-bought that film more than any other movie in my collection. I just don't entirely agree with the message. I may be a cynic, but I'm a cynic who loves to be wrong.
Apathy is just too easy. Sure the world can be a pretty shitty place. Reading headline after headline about the rich get richer and police officers get away with murder is enough to make you want to throw in the towel. But imagine how bad it would be if we all just stopped trying? Sure it's near impossible for an individual to make any sort of significant change in this world. But that's no reason to stop trying. You might not be able to change the game or turn the tide, but you can probably manage to do a little good for someone. That way, when you're inevitably chewed up and spit out by the machine, you can at least say you got a few good licks in.