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Leaving Las Vegas [DVD]
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An alcoholic (Nicolas Cage) decides to travel to Las Vegas to drink himself to death, but when he arrives he embarks on a strange love affair with a prostitute (Elisabeth Shue). He never asks her to change her profession whilst she never asks him to stop drinking. When his health deteriorates, however, she begs him to see a doctor. He refuses and leaves her, putting both their lives on a downward spiral. Nicolas Cage won an Academy Award for Best Actor.
One of the most critically acclaimed films of 1995, this wrenchingly sad but extraordinarily moving drama provides an authentic, superbly acted portrait of two people whose lives intersect just as they've reached their lowest depths of despair. Ben (Nicolas Cage, in an Oscar-winning performance) is a former movie executive who's lost his wife and family in a sea of alcoholic self-destruction. He's come to Las Vegas literally to drink himself to death, and that's when he meets Sera (Elisabeth Shue), a prostitute who falls in love with him--and he with her--despite their mutual dead-end existence. They accept each other as they are, with no attempts by one to change the other, and this unconditional love turns Leaving Las Vegas into a sombre yet quietly beautiful love story. Earning Oscar nominations for Best Director (Mike Figgis), Best Adapted Screenplay (Figgis, from John O'Brien's novel) and Best Actress (Shue), the film may strike some as relentlessly bleak and glacially paced, but attentive viewers will readily discover the richness of these tragic characters and the exceptional performances that bring them to life. (In a sad echo of his own fiction, novelist John O'Brien committed suicide while this film was in production.) --Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
Ben Sanderson (Nicholas Cage) is an alcoholic who has nothing left to live for but the very booze that seems to be the only happiness he can find. His friends want nothing to do with him and women are disgusted by him. After being let go from his job, Ben burns all of his possessions and moves to Las Vegas, where his only plan is to drink himself to death. In a short amount of time he meets Sera (Elisabeth Shue), a lonely hooker who has been through it all. An unexpected bond is formed between the two and love falls upon them that can only end in tragedy.
Boy, was this a hard movie to watch, but it was so well-done and executed. You are able to sympathize with both Ben and Sera, despite the paths they have chosen. Nicholas Cage was amazing and brilliant. No wonder why he won an Academy Award for his performance. You really buy into the fact that he is this sad character who wants nothing more but to destroy himself by the only thing that can bring him some sense of false happiness. Shue is also terrific in her role and should be applauded as well. The two are explosive as a team and can really bring the house down.
"Leaving Las Vegas" is drama at its best. It's heartbreaking, but at the same time is satisfying. It's emotionally charged from start to finish. The writing is poetic, the acting is electric, and the directing is fantastic. Be warned, this is not a "feel-good" movie. It's a portrait of harsh reality and it doesn't go easy on you for a second. If you want a powerhouse drama that will keep you emotionally involved, this is the one for you. A terrific and amazing film on every front.
Nicholas Cage gives a haunting performance as Ben Sanderson, a man who has lost everything and come to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. On his way down he meets a prostitute named Sera and in their spiraling despair they discover love. One of the most poignant moments in the film comes when Cage is on the streets of Las Vegas seeking human contact and can’t remember whether he lost everything because of his drinking or started drinking because he lost everything. Cage’s performance rings absolutely true and deservedly won him the Oscar. He shows with great tenderness the sad realism of being an alcoholic.
Matching Cage scene for scene is Elizabeth Shue in a brilliantly realized role that should have won an Oscar. As this working girl begins to care about Ben she discovers she is not dead inside, like some, and can still love. But when Ben finally pushes her away in order to save her she realizes that if she lets him, she may very well lose this power to love and her connection to being human. Going back, however, may be more than her heart can bare.
Figgis has made a mesmerizing film of almost overwhelming sadness.Read more ›
We see little glimpses of his former self, as a powerful Hollywood movie executive. He was once happily married, brilliant at his job, and with the world at his fingertips. But alcohol has no respect for either intelligence or social position, and Ben is now merely a shadow of his former self, and deep in the grip of his own personal demons.
One scene at the beginning of the movie encapsulates beautifully the way in which alcohol has dragged Ben down, and robbed him totally of any last shred of his self-respect.
His film producer colleagues Marc (Steven Webber) and Peter (Richard Lewis) are having dinner and drinks in an upmarket restaurant while they shoot the breeze about their latest blockbuster film project.
Ben has run out of cash, and is desperate for a drink.
He spots his erstwhile buddies, and dollar signs immediately begin to flash before his eyes. He bursts into their private conversation in a desperate attempt to cadge enough money to allow him to carry on boozing. He completely demeans and degrades himself for the paltry price of a few drinks, and what’s more he realises it. But alcohol has him in such a fierce stranglehold that he would quite literally go to any lengths to get the necessary wherewithal to buy his next glass of hooch!
His career is on the slide, and he’s eventually sacked by his boss. This is done reluctantly, and it’s plain that his boss still has a lot of regard for him, but has now been let down just once too often, and left with no alternative but to let Ben go.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Harrowing stuff. Nicholas Cage plays a brilliant part. The emotional and mental connection, chemistry and bond between Cage and Shue is electric, pure unconditional realistic love... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ms L. Felli
Often extremely difficult to watch but always absolutely breathtaking. Perfectly cast performances of a quality that neither Cage nor Shue could ever hope to repeat.Published 6 months ago by philip1805
Was in German!! Where did it say that in description? Says English on coverPublished 6 months ago by carol liddle