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Leaving Las Vegas Blu-ray
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A bittersweet, romantic tale about two people wrestling with intense personal demons. He's an alcoholic who has lost his job and travels to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. She's a beautiful Hollywood prostitute trapped in a destructive relationship with her boyfriend. The two find each other in the dizzinging backdrop of the Las Vegas scene and discover a special companionship and understanding within each other.
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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.
Singular focus on the moribund obsessions of Cage would be gross injustice to the incredibly touching love and empathy that he shares with the lead female protagonist - Elisabeth Shue - who plays a hooker's role with levels of dexterity rarely attained. There is a very deep understanding and mutual acceptance between the two lead characters that is in many ways the true highlight of this movie. Interestingly, we see no reasons for this to exist but such is the articulacy of characterization that not even for a second does one find this profound relationship unrealistic.
'Leaving Las Vegas' is an iconoclastic love story whose control over the audience is fascinating. Such is the brilliance of the performances that you feel a lump in your heart by the end of the movie - and this lump transcends into the depths of your being - to stay there and to remind you that unconditional love exists and so does the capability to invite your own death to walk up to you - gradually and consistently. 'Leaving Las Vegas' is a movie that would haunt you for its portrayal of love intertwined with morbid realities of life.