on 9 September 2005
My only regret about this film is that I didn't get to see it in the cinema - warned off by misguided critics.
Its a brilliant film - a surreal fun ride that plays like a live action Warner Brother's cartoon, but with the deeper, darker edge of Hunter S. Thompsons original story always present. Should be regarded as Gilliam's masterpiece.
on 16 June 2008
This is a cult film for a reason, only a certain type of people can enjoy this film. Nothing can quite compare to reading the book but this a fantastic attempt at bringing it to life. A psychedelic self destructive journey through Las Vegas as you follow the doctor or journalism Raoul duke and his attorney Dr. Gonzo through their intense trip. If you haven't read the book yet buy that and immediately read it and then buy the film. The film is fantastic for those who understand it, those with the right kind of eyes.
on 27 August 2009
I watched this film and decided to live the Fear And Loathing lifestyle for a while, just to see if its as good as Jonny Depp makes it look.
So, after much effort and at much risk to my health and safety, I found a 'dealer' in the roughest part of town and purchased some illicit substances from him.
I took the substances and waited. After around 30 minutes I began to feel strange, then very, very happy. I felt an intense love for mankind never experienced before.
I couldn't help but feel that the only sensible thing to do was remove all my clothing and show the world how much i loved it, which was a lot at that moment.
So I removed my clothing, thankfully it was a mild day and I was looking good, if you know what I mean.
I walked down the street feeling like a god, not The God, as in God, you understand, but a god none the less. Whilst walking proudly naked I felt a tap on the shoulder, I looked around and it was a policeman. He asked me what I was doing walking around in the public arena nude and I explained that I loved everybody a lot and wanted to have their babies, including his.
The policeman appeared unhappy with this explanation and asked me if I was "on drugs", I advised that I was indeed "on drugs" and had purchased them from a fellow nearby earlier in the day. The policeman then promptly arrested me for indecent exposure and possession of illegal substances. He took me to a police station and i had to sit in a smelly cell for hours with some unsavioury characters, though because of the drugs I'd taken, I thought they were beautiful and gave them all big love, if you know what I mean.
So, here I sit a few weeks later, fired from my job, divorced from my wife, without access to the kids and living in a hostel. My court case is coming up soon and it looks like I'm going to go to prison. This film ruined my life, I hate it.
on 28 February 2008
This is a classic masterpiece, superb humour, a gorgeous soundtrack inercut with brilliant technical directing. Hunter S Thompson's novel is a worlwind of brilliance and this film is an excellent adaptation.
Enjoyable from being to end, this is the kind of thing you watch over and over loving it more each time.
on 17 August 2015
Has the stamp of Terry Gilliam all over it, never one for the 'light' touch! Was intrigued by the reviews and clips I had seen. Certainly high production values but veers uneasily between comedy and social comment, albeit through the vehicle of what is basically one long psychedelic trip. For me that was what palled, along with dialogue that was very hard to make out in places. The 'tripping' is basically the whole film, not just various parts, which makes it very tiring to watch. No matter how well done once the walls dissolve again it's hard to think 'wow man'. At the end I was left with a feeling of how tiresome this all was. Which I guess was the point. It was enjoyable but rather over praised, I'd say it was a 6/10 film, with an undoubtedly great soundtrack!!
on 25 July 2006
Never underestimate the Spanish Inquisition. They may not have been terribly successful in Monty Python, that was expected, but outside the show, they achieved a lot. Terry Jones and Michael Palin followed their own paths, the latter seemingly walked down EVERY path in the world in his documentaries for the BBC, but it was Terry Gilliam who arguably went on to become the most creative member of the Python team. Primarily responsible for the animations in the show, Gilliam went behind the camera again after the end of Python, this time focusing on the big screen. Gilliam injected his unique creativity into all his films, mostly to great acclaim, "Time Bandits", "Brazil", and "Twelve Monkeys" all lauded by critics and fans. However, its his 1998 portrayal of journalist Hunter S Thompson's masterpiece "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" that should be acknowledged as the pinnacle of Gilliam's work.
Every aspect of this film is stunning. The acting, the camera work, the soundtrack, the imagination, all truly staggering. The story centres around Thompson's alter ego Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp), who has been summoned to cover a motorcycle race in Vegas. Accompanied by his attorney Dr Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro), the drug-riddled expedition quickly escalates into a chaotic and perilous episode for the constantly intoxicated pair. The story descends into sheer psychedelic lunacy, as our heroes battle against the neon lights of Vegas, the conservative normality of the sober, and the watchful eyes of hotel staff. Johnny Depp produces a performance of vast quality, his portrayal of Thompson is probably highly accurate, considering he spent some time with Thompson before the making of the film, even sleeping in his house. Del Toro is fantastic as his accomplice, and a number of Hollywood regulars make fleeting appearances, including Cameron Diaz, Christina Ricci, and Tobey Maguire (even Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers holds an unrecognisable part, as does Thompson). The art direction is absolutely stunning, the whole film really captures 1970s America, and the scenes of psychedelic drug highs are jaw dropping, there are plenty of them, and with a soundtrack including Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, and Jefferson Airplane, the film gives an absorbing insight into the many states of mind shaped by their vast array of drugs.
FALILV is hilarious, uneasy, fascinating, sobering, and ultimately exhilarating ride. Gilliam has blatantly spent a hell of thought, time, and effort on this majestic depiction of Thompson's literary classic, his work on the meticulous details of this narcotic fuelled trip has evidently produced a free-flowing and engrossing picture of the book. Its almost an unwritten rule of cinema that a big screen recreation of literature is never as good the original piece, FALILV may not be better than Thompson's writings, however it is just as brilliant as the book. In my opinion, buy the book and film, and savour both classics.
on 16 March 2006
This movie polarizes the audience like few before: while of course, there's people who like it and people who don't like it for any movie, 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' either excites immensely or almost repulses it's critics, and I dare to say that most of the negative responses are based on ignorance, or even fear, of introducing psychedelic experiences into mainstream culture.
You might have to read the book to fully understand some parts.. But you can still fully enjoy it even if you haven't read the book.
Personally, I regard 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' as one of my absolute favorites, definitely in my top 10, and possibly even top 3.
One of the many outstanding characteristics, besides a great soundtrack, excellent direction, and maybe the greatest achievement, since this is from far The best literary adaptations ever done, is the visual interpretation of the influence of LSD and other psychedelica. Though it has been tried many times, in 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' it has been done in a way that in my opinion deserves an Academy Award like 'Best Visual Interpretation', were there one like that.
The directing itself is fast paced with offseting angles a lot of wide angle lenses. Gilliam has a style which is unmistakable, it's like walking around inside of a Dali painting, everything is distorted and stretched to create a strong sense of surrealism.
There are so many great lines, and moments. To many to count, and that's thanks to Doc Thompson's great talent in writing and his active role in the filming of this movie.
Johnny Depp should have received an Oscar for it. His performance is nothing short of genius. But Benicio Del Toro's performance was second to none, actually his character was probably more difficult to play but he does such a great great job... He is Gonzo as Thompson described it in his books.
To conlude: if you know already Hunter S. Thompson you'll be blown away from this. If you don't, well, you should! And you can very much start from here.
on 16 May 2003
There's one thing that bugs me about this movie - I knew people like Jeff Shannon would miss the point (see the Amazon 'review' of the film). It didn't 'grate' on my 'nerves', it is not 'repetitive' to the point of deficiently impairing my enjoyment. It works on so many levels, denoting that this is a piece of great literary work. The drugs in the film are hilarious, yet not gratuitous, due to the serious contexts in which the book and film were written and set. The drug taking is satirical.
The literature is actually anti-drugs and anti-hippy. I've read the script. The words on Tim Leary’s ideals should strike a chord in any contemporary context, when Duke narrates on “a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential old-mystic of the Acid Culture: the desperate assumption that somebody or at least some force -- is tending the light at the end of the tunnel.” I fail to see how this narration could be described as coming from a character that Shannon describes as having the ‘zonked-out mind’ of a ‘buffoon’. I’m not a child of the 60s, but I feel, as an English Literature student, and Theatre, Film And Television Leeds University student that I have the open mind to appreciate the ideas behind any book. For those who have read Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, this offers a similar tale of a journey - the search for the ‘American Dream’.
The satire in the film is used to convey the meaning that the author and filmmakers wanted to portray. Psychology does have evidence to support the idea that serious messages are not listened to if it sent in a shocking, straight way. The comedy in the film is necessary to the films message. It does not in any way glorify drugs. The characters are used to represent the misguided culture that Leary and his peers where promoting. The diction in this film is spine tingling at times with the ‘meat-hook realities’ of Leary’s ‘consciousness expansion’, to the comical spoof of a drugs awareness video in a police conference when the film narrator talks of ‘your dope-fiend’ and how ‘his pants will be crusted with semen from constantly jacking off when he can't find a rape victim’. This send up of the sensationalising of drugs is entirely accurate and adept.
You do not need to have a literary grasp to ‘get’ this film. You need an open mind, open ears, and cultural awareness. Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro where exceptionally well cast in this film. It’s the best I’ve personally seen of either of them. I plead with you not to listen to Jeff Shannon, nor even myself, but watch the film and make your own mind up. Literature is all about freedom, not the boundaries we confine ourselves in. I’m not being bombastic when I admit that this film changed my life, or at very least my outlook of it.
I could go on forever, but the film is enough to explain its own brilliance
on 23 January 2002
Johnny Depp is this film. Terry Gilliam directs competantly as always and Benidicio Del Toro is aptly convincing as Depp's attourney. Depp is no Brad Pitt, he does what he wants to do, not what's good for his image ...
The film is a laugh riot from the starting screams of "We can't stop here, this is bat country!" to the ending of Raoul's doped up face as he leaves Las Vegas. The film itself has basically no plot. Duke Raoul is sent on a journalistic assignment to Las Vegas and has his Samoan attourney accompany him. The thing that adds the icing on the cake to this film is Depp's narrative which is the funniest thing about this. Some of the trips are genuinly scary as Depp imagines himself and his attourney in a cell being sentenced to, "Castration,.....Double castration!" There is a genuinly touching moment as Raoul talks about the great acid wave of the sixties and stares out of the window and says: "And with the right kind of eyes you can see the place where the wave broke and finally rolled back." But this film is a comedy, a dark one maybe, but still a comedy, insanely funny, darkly brilliand and what's more totally and utterly convincing.
on 27 November 2003
I first watched this film, ripped, twisted - out of my mind at a friend's house in SW London...
I laughed and laughed, 'til I thought I would black out... This is a film that provokes extreme reaction. Luv it or hate it - there's no middle ground... It's a film you cannot explain to ANYONE that has not seen it already... They'll think you're mad, tainted with the insanity and lust for life that infected the Duke and Dr' Gonzo on their shotgun, headlong flight into debauchery...
Be careful - if you're weak you may find yourself wondering about mescaline, ether and all manner of crazy things... "what could happen?... Hmmmm". Do not try this at home!!!!
Seriously tho'... this film needs a number of screenings to get into the head of Thompson and the good Doctor... The dialogue is rapid-fire and at first incomprehensible... Give it time and you will reap the rewards that will have you espuousing the wisdom of Thompson's narrative, to strangers, who will stare at you like dog's that have just been shown a card-trick...
Watch the film... read the book... watch the film again... in that order...
Thing's will mAKE SENSE NOW... AND ALL THE THING'S YOU ONCE HELD DEAR WILL FADE TO GREY AND LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN...
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