HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
Claudine
   
 
Newest Articles
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
   
 
  Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Beasts Of The CityBuy this film here.
Year: 1998
Director: Terry Gilliam
Stars: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire, Ellen Barkin, Gary Busey, Christina Ricci, Mark Harmon, Cameron Diaz, Katherine Helmond, Michael Jeter, Craig Bierko, Lyle Lovett, Flea, Harry Dean Stanton, Tim Thomerson, Jenette Goldstein, Christopher Meloni
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Weirdo
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1971 and journalist Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) is driving through the desert to an assignment in Las Vegas accompanied by his attorney, Dr Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro). They are both in a state of advanced inebriation due to alcohol and other, more illegal drugs in their systems, and Duke is currently convinced that this is bat country: he's reluctant to mention this to Dr Gonzo. As they bullet along the road, determined to reach their hotel in time to check in before the deadline that will see them receive their expenses for free, they notice a hitchhiker (Tobey Maguire) on the hard shoulder. Dr Gonzo, now in the driver's seat, stops for him and he jumps in, but immediately regrets his decision when it appears as though the two men are less good Samaritans and more insane. The hitchhiker doesn't know the half of it...

It took a least two and a half decades for Hunter S. Thompson's all time cult favourite book of "Gonzo Journalism" to reach the screen, after attempts by the likes of Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Ralph Bakshi (who thought the work would be best as a cartoon) and very nearly Alex Cox, who ended up falling out with Thompson. Cox still got a screenplay credit with Tod Davies for their script even though the screenplay actually used was a new one by the man who eventually brought it to the screen, Terry Gilliam, with Tony Grisoni. Was it really possible to bring Thompson's prose to the cinema and truly capture the spirit of the book?

Up to a point, Gilliam is successful. It's patently a Gilliam film, with its crazy camera angles, surreal scenes superbly realised such as the lounge bar populated by giant lizards that Duke hallucinates, and wild eyed humour to bring the darker elements into sharper relief. In fact, it may be too much of a Gilliam film to do justice to the original, but the performances at its heart, from Depp and Del Toro, show a faithfulness to the material that go above and beyond the call of duty. All the memorable scenes from the book are there, and if they don't look quite as you might have imagined from, say, Ralph Steadman's illustrations, then at least they are vivid enough in their own right.

The laughs are almost completely reliant on a kind of druggy slapstick, and perhaps too much of the film is its two stars staggering and stumbling around, rambling and ranting, but this manages to approximate the hazy, queasy world of narcotics the characters inhabit in their efforts to get through the long days and nights of a society that has gone through sixties permissiveness and idealism and apparently rejected it. This leaves the likes of Duke and Dr Gonzo washed up on conservative shores while the Vietnam war still rages on and their favourite lifestyle, getting high, is a dangerous state to be in.

The plot, as in the book, reels from episode to epsiode with Duke initially covering a motorcycle race in the desert that is too dusty to see anything that's going on (ruining his beer into the bargain). But the drugs not so much take hold as never let go, and there's a sinister side exemplified by Del Toro's knife wielding antics that spook the likes of Cameron Diaz and Ellen Burstyn, in a conclusive scene that brings out the serious message. That is, that the antiheroes' lifestyle of blotting out reality does nothing but amplify it, and make everything nightmarish to the point that it can only be coped with with more drugs. So much of them are used that you may well be surprised that nobody dies, and while there are many highlights of comedy (Duke and Dr Gonzo attempting to get into a Debbie Reynolds show, for example) and scenes that may give you the fear (Duke discussing what to do with teenager Christina Ricci when she turns up in Dr Gonzo's room), the film is more a triumph of artistic exertion than an 100% satisfying adaptation. Music by Ray Cooper.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4817 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Terry Gilliam  (1940 - )

Endlessly imaginative American director and animator who gained fame as one of the Monty Python team. He co-directed the Pythons' films Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python's Life of Brian and Monty Python's Meaning of Life, but also helmed his own projects, starting with Jabberwocky and Time Bandits.

The brilliant Brazil was beset with production problems, and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen was nearly a complete disaster. After that, Gilliam directed other people's stories: The Fisher King, Twelve Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Brothers Grimm. 2006's controversial Tideland returned Gilliam to independent filmmaking, while his failed attempt to bring Don Quixote to the screen was documented in the painful Lost in La Mancha. His next, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, survived the death of its lead actor, and The Zero Theorem was a melancholy sci-fi which proved he could work quickly and efficiently after all.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: