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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (The Criterion Collection)
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The second disc is crammed with some great goodies as well - Depp reads letters written to/from Thompson. There's a great BBC documentary showing HST and Ralph Steadman undertaking a trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Another gem is a snippet from an audio-book recording of Fear & Loathing with Jim Jarmusch as Raoul Duke! All definitely worth it.
Fear and Loathing isn't just a drug movie (as all the extras on the DVD will reiterate over and over again) - it's a truthful, imaginative, twisted, and subversive take on the death of the most idealistic decade and generation. We get to see it all through the eyes of two renegade professionals, one a journalist and the other a lawyer, both fighting the good fight against scum and villainy.
We can't stop here! THIS IS BAT COUNTRY.
Johnny Depp plays Raoul Duke, alter ego to gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who wrote the book this film is based on. He is sent on an assignment by Rolling Stone to cover a motorcycle race in Las Vegas. Coming along for the ride is Dr. Gonzo (aka Oscar Zeta Acosta), Duke's repulsive attorney, played by Benicio del Toro. The two rent a very expensive convertible and bring along with them a case full of illegal drugs.
The film is essentially the journey of two drug-fueled madmen through one of the most unfriendly cities in the country, but it's also a study on what life was like in 1971. In the end, as funny as it may be, it's really a docudrama. Gilliam directs the film in his classic "nightmarish" style, creating a truly hellish vision of America. But the biggest surprise of all is how true the screenplay is to the novel. Sure, like any adaptation, some good stuff is taken out, but if you compare what's written down, there isn't that much of a difference.
Most enjoyable, however, are the performances. Johnny Depp is hilarious as Duke and Del Toro, despite how disgusting his character is, is nothing short of a scene stealer. The film is also ripe with cameos, the most memorable are the ones delivered by Harry Dean Stanton, Tobey Maguire, Gary Busey, and of course, Flea of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
I recommend this to any Gilliam/Thompson fans, though in order to enjoy it, you need to watch it in a generally filthy atmosphere, and for some of you, you may need to see it more than once to really appreciate this. Overall, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a very good film filled with moments that stick with you for a long time.
The problem with this film is that it assaults mainstream movie-goers unconditionally from start to finish by never conforming to the standards that keep them "safe" inside their shell. If you don't let go then chances are you are another false member of that which Hunter S. Thompson is expounding about - the crook called the "American Dream". The person on your left is laughing. The person on your right is sitting smug faced. The one behind is complaining and the one in front is crying. The result is that if you hate this movie you hate it because you can just never understand it, like the business guy who walks into the toilet only to see a grown man sniff LSD from another's felt sleeve. The person leaves confused, will never understand it, because he has never experienced anything like that and has no clue what it is all about. People will try and deal with all of this by labelling it somehow. "Drugs! Its all about those druggies and only druggies will get it!" some may cry out. The truth is that people who may have done drugs will know a little about the unconventionality that this film is based on but yet again there are many others who will also get it, but never have done drugs. This film attacks a certain type of personality - those who are stuck so far up their own orifice with the American dream that they have limited their perceptions of life indefinitely and remain wooden throughout the rest of their existence.Read more ›
The movie itself is an overlooked gem, but the good folks at Criterion have packed the dvd and companion disc with some of the best features they've ever attempted. A Terry Gilliam commentary is always welcome, and Depp and Del Toro have their say, but how about a commentary by Hunter S. Thompson in full gonzo mode.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a review of the film, not the Criterion Collection presentation. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" is the film adaptation of one of the most important American... Read morePublished 16 months ago by B. Adducchio
Love this movie. Funny and different Johnny depp is an amazing actor.Published 22 months ago by Spanky
One of my all time favorite movies, Mr. Depp portrays Mr. Duke superbly. Seldom dose a film do a book justice, and the second disc has a really interesting interview and... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Matthew C. Monroe
Favorite movie of all time and the "Special-Special" edition is any collectors dream, bonus features are a great addition. Read morePublished on July 8, 2014 by Pieter Call