Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

4.6 56
Director: Terry Gilliam

Cast: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Craig Bierko

     
 

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Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Twelve Monkeys, The Fisher King) directed this colorful, stylized, pseudo-psychedelic $21-million adaptation of the 1971 Hunter S. Thompson classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey into the Heart of the American Dream, about stoned sportswriter Raoul Duke, Thompson's alter ego, on a wild drug-crazedSee more details below

Overview

Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Twelve Monkeys, The Fisher King) directed this colorful, stylized, pseudo-psychedelic $21-million adaptation of the 1971 Hunter S. Thompson classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey into the Heart of the American Dream, about stoned sportswriter Raoul Duke, Thompson's alter ego, on a wild drug-crazed road trip, a paranoid plummet into the belly of the beast, with his pal, lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta. Originally serialized in Rolling Stone (November 1971), the book catapulted Thompson headfirst toward the Kerouac-Mailer-Capote pantheon and jump-started the entire movement of "gonzo journalism." Carrying a suitcase of drugs, Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp with shaved pate) and his attorney Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) drive a red convertible across the Mojave from L.A. to Vegas, where Duke has an assignment to cover the Mint 400 desert motorcycle race. As the drugs kick in, Duke ventures into voiceover, filling in the blank spots and narrative gaps. "This is not a good town for psychedelic drugs," says Duke, but even so, they consume vast quantities, eventually escalating to ether. Duke notes that with ether "you can actually watch yourself behaving this terrible way, but you can't control it." The two trash their hotel room, and Gonzo goes back to L.A. Thinking the hotel room holocaust will lead to an arrest, Duke begins a drive back to L.A., but after an odd encounter with a highway patrolman (Gary Busey) and a telephone conversation with Gonzo, he returns to Vegas to cover the District Attorney Convention on Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in the glitzy Flamingo Hotel. This time the drugged-out duo trash their Flamingo room. The crazed carnival atmosphere segues into a carney casino, Bazooko's Circus, where a barker (Penn Jillette) spiels amid aerialists, clowns, and a rotating carousel bar. Gonzo worries over runaway teen Lucy (Christina Ricci), who paints portraits of Barbra Streisand. Soon the hallucinations begin: Duke sees Gonzo transmogrify into a demon with breasts on its back, and an acid vision of a Vegas bar features large legit lounge lizards (courtesy of monster makeup man Rob Bottin). Flashbacks depicting Duke's intro to the drug scene jump back to love-Haight relationships in San Francisco's Summer of Love. Cameos and guest stars include Mark Harmon, Cameron Diaz, Flea, Lyle Lovett, Harry Dean Stanton, Ellen Barkin, Tobey Maguire, and Hunter S. Thompson himself. The film features a Geffen Records soundtrack mixing rock of the period with Vegas lounge tunes. Over the years, various script adaptations came and went as did numerous talents; people connected with past efforts to film Thompson's book include Martin Scorsese, Jack Nicholson, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, and writer-director Alex Cox. Shown in competition at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Matthew Tobey
Just as it seemed impossible to make a cinematic adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's words from the classic 1971 account of post-1960s America, it's quite a task describing such a visual film in text. It simply has to be seen to be believed and understood. And that is one of the film's biggest successes, turning the words into images -- original, vivid, unforgettable images that pull the viewer into the movie whether they get it or not, whether it's a dream, a drug trip, or a warped recollection of the past. But Terry Gilliam's brilliant visual style would be wasted if not for the incredible performances of Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro. Both play their characters with the eyes of strangers in a strange land, despite the fact that they are in their home country. Judged by many to be pointless and even boring, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is, as the original book was, a reflection of an unsettling, unpredictable time. It's lack of a concrete traditional story arc may turn some off, but for those who can look beyond that, it is hilarious, scary, manic, and poignant, a film that is pure anarchic entertainment as much as it is compelling insight.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/26/2006
UPC:
0025193128720
Original Release:
1998
Rating:
R
Source:
Universal Studios
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:59:00
Format:
HD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Johnny Depp Raoul Duke
Benicio Del Toro Dr. Gonzo
Craig Bierko Lacerda
Ellen Barkin North Star Waitress
Gary Busey Highway Patrolman
Cameron Diaz Blonde TV Reporter
Flea Musician
Mark Harmon Magazine Reporter
Katherine Helmond Reservations Clerk
Michael Jeter L. Ron Bumquist
Penn Jillette Carnie Talker
Lyle Lovett Road Person
Tobey Maguire Hitchiker
Christina Ricci Lucy
Harry Dean Stanton Judge
Tim Thomerson Hoodlum
Richard Riehle Actor

Technical Credits
Terry Gilliam Director,Screenwriter
Steve Arnold Art Director
Rob Bottin Special Effects
Harold Bronson Executive Producer
Patrick Cassavetti Producer
Lynn Christopher Set Decoration/Design
Alex Cox Screenwriter
Tod Davies Screenwriter
Richard Foos Executive Producer
Chris Gorak Art Director
Tony Grisoni Screenwriter
Nancy Haigh Set Decoration/Design
Kent Houston Special Effects Supervisor
John Jergens Associate Producer
Alex McDowell Production Designer
Jay Meagher Sound/Sound Designer
Laila Nabulsi Producer
Stephen Nemeth Producer
Philip A. Patterson Asst. Director
Nicola Pecorini Cinematographer
Elliot Lewis Rosenblatt Co-producer
Margery Simkin Casting
Lesley Walker Editor
Julie Weiss Costumes/Costume Designer

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Scene Index

Deleted scenes; Spotlight on Location; Theatrical trailer

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