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Leaving Las Vegas
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After drinking away his family, friends, and his job, Ben, an avowed alcoholic, heads to Las Vegas to end his life with one final binge. On the strip, he picks up a street-smart hooker named Sera. Their chance meeting becomes a brief rest on the road to oblivion.
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 somber 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.) The DVD features uncut, unrated footage that was not included in the film's theatrical release. --Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
But its not only about that, it is also about a man who wants to die, so its sort of an anti-Sent of a Woman is that sense.
It is painful to watch, as it was intended to be.
But through all of this misery there is at the heart of the movie, a love story...an unlikely love story, but a love story.
Two people who need each other and a woman with such a big heart and so darn lovable and loving and cute, I kept thinking that the man would find redemption and a reason to live in her. I really hoped that she would have saved him....she would have saved me.
It is certainly not a feel good movie but maybe a cautionary tale
This movie is unforgettable especially for anyone who can relate to despair.
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so the movie. in one's lifetime rarely does a movie, er, move you on so many different levels. from mike figgis' trumpet playing, which is haunting and lonely, the notes of which act as the stepping stones on the pathway to the character's end, to cage's acting, the movie is quite literally - perfect. By far some of nicolas cage's best work and you won't find a more believable, real and engaging film. even shue, whose acting in later years is less than stellar, fits right into this role, and honestly, i would not have wanted anything about the casting changed.
The beauty of this film lay in its honesty, which is brutal at the very least (perhaps this is why the last reviewer use the word repugnant). not only does it go a good job at capturing the downward spiral of someone who has lost it all, but it captures the despair and misery of losing it all to alcoholism.
the movie also is honest about relationships. too often movies establish an unrealistic, trite and superficial love story that just comes off as puke-evoking. the beauty of shue and cage's relationship is how each accept each other unconditionally despite their flaws - she a las vegas prostitute, and he a raging alcoholic there to drink himself to death, which he openly admits to her. at one point in the movie cage says to her, "you can never ask me to stop drinking." chilling.
it's witty, humorous and sad in all the right combinations. to this day (i just said it again the other day), it remains as one of my Top 10 movies of all time.
see the movie. even after a decade or more in the can, this movie still holds its own to this day.
The poor picture quality in this title most likely stems from the decision to cram both a widescreen and fullscreen version of this 2-hour movie on the same side of a single-layer DVD. Something had to give, and in this case, it was the compression ratio, leading to extraordinarily poor picture quality. If the producers felt compelled to include the fullscreen version, they could have at least done us all the favor of putting it on the flip side. If you appreciate high-quality visuals in your movies (and why else would you have bought that DVD player?) pass on this one until they come out with a less-compressed version.
On the positive side, the movie itself is one of the better ones I've seen, and definitely justifies a rental of this title if you haven't seen it before. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is exceptional (I'd rate it a 5, vice Amazon's 4), and the background music is both well-chosen and very well-mixed. If you have a 5 or 6 speaker Dolby Digital setup, you'll feel as if you're actually in the movie, with the jazz music and sound effects emanating from all around you. It's a crime about the picture, though.
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