dporgie | Flemington, NJ United States | 01/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I find it sad that much of the country bases it's movie selections on the opinions of hacks like Leonard Maltin. I can see why this wasn't a mainstream success due to it's waaaaaay out in left field mentality, but because of all the negativity this great film remains unseen by many. As people come around to the acting genius of both Johnny Depp and Benecio Del Toro (and they will), they will inevitably want to see their earlier works and then, finally, they will see what all the hype wasn't about. Terry Gilliam absolutely NAILED Hunter's book. The visuals are incredible and alarming. The angles, strange and enticing. I heard that they filmed this movie without a script, just the book in hand. After reading the book, I believe trying to write a script for it could have severly dampened the impact.Now for the drug use... If you are the type of person who realized that Fight Club wasn't really about the fighting, then you will also realize that Fear & Loathing isn't really about the drug use. According to the big dog movie critics only a stoner will appreciate this movie, which leads me to believe that only idiots become professional movie reviewers.If you appreciate ground-breaking cinema, truly innovative directing, first-rate acting and are looking for something different... the ramblings of a gonzo journalist could be just the thing."
Buy the ticket; take the ride
cinemajunkie | New Jersey | 02/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If, when you rent this film, you are expecting a Cheech and Chong film, think twice. People frequently compare the two, but Fear and Loathing is not only infinitely better, it is not the screwball comedy everyone seems to think it is.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."
Madness, Politics, Drug Use and Mean-Tempered Cops
Citizenrobot | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD finally gives one of Terry Gilliam's lesser-loved (but brilliant!) films the red carpet treatment. The commentary from Gilliam is crazed and passionate; Depp and Del Toro really show off their wit, charm, and intelligence along with producer Laila Nabulsi's back-stage insight, and the last commentary is a rather odd and screwball one from Thompson himself. I won't tell you a thing about the last commentary. You've got to buy this and check it out on your own. (Here's a hint: 'Screeee-ahhhh! Raaaaaaaagh!' *other assorted sounds*)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."
Get the Ten Strip on the Desert Strip
Daniel Skorik | 10/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" Review Though it was greeted with lukewarm reviews and mediocre ticket sales, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" was a wonderfully made movie that catches every essence of Hunter S. Thompson's word. The movie follows Thompson's drug induced alter ego, Raoul Duke (played by Johnny Depp), and his doped up Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo (played by Benecio del Toro), as they travel in pursuit of the "American Dream." Based on the 1971 novel of the same name, the (drug) counterculture comedy was a roller coaster ride on LSD. Due to its graphic depiction of drug use and its effects, the film was looked at as a "plotless movie about drug addicts." I found these reviews a little hard to swallow, though. True, the movie is about drugs and how those on them function differently from the "sober" half of society. Those who are opposed to drugs on the screen (or drugs in general) could easily damn the movie for its content. Moreso, though, it is a lifestyle that few get to see. It is an ADVENTURE for the ambiguous "American Dream." Being undefined, this pursuit is almost aimless. This, however, does not mean the movie does not have plot. The search for the "dream" and their experiences with others is the real story here. It just doesn't have any real closure. Throughout the film, the story follows the book pretty closely. The movie begins with Duke and Gonzo speeding through the desert on their way to the Las Vegas. Being a writer, Duke has been sent to cover the Mint 400 Race, a motorcycle exhibition that takes place in the desert near Vegas. Having received the assignment while "relaxing" with Gonzo, Duke decides to make the trip more "pleasure" than "business." They purchase a new car (the Red Shark) and fill its trunk to capacity with nearly every drug imaginable. Upon arriving in Vegas, the duo begins their mad drug fed romp through the "sin city." They terrorize the desert town without trying to get caught. Their diet, consisting mainly of grapefruits and the contents of their trunk, provides them with enough sustenance to stumble from casino to casino. Duke attempts to report on the Mint 400, but finds no glory (and no hint of the American Dream). For a time, the two are seperated, as Gonzo returns to LA for business. Upon his return, the duo continue their search for the "Dream," but quickly find interest in other activities (infiltrating a police officer conference while under the influence, drinking pure adrenaline, trashing a room and assaulting a maid, etc.) In the end, the two give up their mission and leave Vegas with unpaid hotel bills and alot of angry citizens. From start to finish, the movie pretty much parallels the book. There are even times when pieces of dialogue are verbatim. One scene that definitely does not appear in the movie (and is very oblique in the book) was a chapter based on a static recording made by "Thompson." In it, he and Gonzo make inquiries of the vague "American Dream" to dime store waitresses who can offer no real directions. With the storyline and the material similar to the book, the originality and flair of the film comes from a mix of the elements. First, the cast is a stupendous gathering of Hollywood's finest underlings - Christina Ricci as the depressed, Streisand infatuated tag along; Cameron Diaz (for a minute) as a spellbinding TV reporter; Gary Busey as the righteous but accepting Highway patrol officer; Benecio del Torro as the unbearable but faithful (to the "Dream") Dr. Gonzo. Secondly, Johnny Depp delivers the performance of a lifetime as the eccentric and insightful Raoul Duke/Hunter S. Thompson. Also, people who have seen Thompson in interviews on TV would know that Depp truly embodied the writer in both body movements and speech. Third, with artists like Jefferson Airplane, Three Dog Night, and Bob Dylan on the soundtrack, the psychedelic music that accompanies the film is both fitting and mood inspiring. Fourth, and lastly, "Fear and Loathing" would never have come to the screen in the format it did if the film had not been placed in the capable and crafty hands of director Terry Gilliam. With movies like "The Fisher King" and "12 Monkeys" under his belt, Gilliam has proven himself to have an original touch and an eye for the abnormal. These can be seen in the wide angle shots of desert, the extreme close ups of the panic stricken characters, the dark lighting that accompanies the hallucinations, and the special effects that enable the audience to tread lightly on the drug trips. In the end, I saw "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" as one of the better films of 1998. The acting was commendable. The directing, superb. And all in all, a damn good movie to watch if you wish to find the "American Dream" for yourself."
About amazon's review...
Daniel Skorik | Anytown, CT, USA | 06/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I disagree with Jeff Shannon's official Amazon.com-endorsed review of this film. He virtually slanders it as junk, whereas it obviously has some worth as it has been accepted as a Criterion Collection film. I don't think he read the book, nor do I think he watched the movie more than once. Hunter Thompson was one of the brightest stars of the 20th century, regardless of his drug habits, and this relatively loyal adaptation of his brilliant novel attests to that."