Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

FandlinLV

Genre: Drama, Comedy

Cast: Johnny Depp, Benicio del Toro

Synopsis: A journalist and his lawyer take a trip to Vegas and basically do a fuck-tonne of drugs

As you may know, a very special holiday took place last weekend. I am, of course, not referring to the day in which Jesus became a zombie. I am instead referring to 4/20, the pot-smoker’s holiday of choice. In celebration of getting high, I decided to watch the craziest drug movie I could possibly think of. I had never seen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas before last weekend. I had, however, heard that it was bat-shit insane. Now that I have watched the movie, I can confirm that that was a fair assessment.

The great thing about this movie is that it doesn’t pull any punches. You follow Johnny Depp as he navigates various drug trips and you see everything he sees as he sees it. As a result, the film shows all the horrors of drug-taking through a series of highly surreal (and generally fucked up) scenes. Ever think you’d see a dinosaur orgy? No, I didn’t either until I watched this film. Ever think you’d see Benicio del Toro wallow in shit-brown bath water after consuming a sheet of LSD? Well, you’ll see that if you watch this movie. Then again, with Terry Gilliam at the helm of this movie I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. If this film convinced me of one thing it was of the harmlessness of marijuana. Lord knows I don’t slip Christina Ricci LSD without her knowing.

Speaking of Christina Ricci, she makes a pretty epic cameo. In fact, there are some great cameos throughout this film. My favourite was Christopher Meloni’s cameo in which he plays an extremely camp hotel clerk. Even Cameron Diaz’s cameo was pretty good. The cameo performances pale in comparison to the performances of Depp and del Toro, however. Each one attacks their role with the frenzied intensity of someone who takes bath salts. I criticise Depp a lot because of his lackluster performances in recent years but Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas reignited my confidence in his acting abilities and the respect I have for him as an actor has grown tremendously. I wonder if he did a lot of drugs to prepare for the role. If not, he must have done some serious studying of the effects of different drugs because he played each trip convincingly.

If I had to level one criticism at the film, it would be the wafer-thin plot. This film is little more than two guys taking all sorts of drugs in Las Vegas. If you’re the sort of person who requires a steady progression of plot or significant character development, this isn’t really the film for you. However, if you’re a writer (and I assume most of you are, especially those with blogs of your own) this is definitely an interesting film to watch because it offers some pointers on observation. However, you should be hesitant to accept too much advice from this film unless you want to wake up in a trashed Vegas hotel room with some strung out junkie and severe gaps in your memory. I’ve been to Vegas so I know that sort of stuff happens to everyone who goes there but, for the sake of you’re writing, just say no to drugs…except weed. Weed is awesome. Say yes to weed.

High-lights:

  • Laughing at Tobey Maguire’s awful hair.
  • Excellent performances from the film’s lead actors and some great cameos.
  • So much surrealism. If the trapeze birth scene doesn’t get you to cry out “What the actual fuck?” then the dinosaur orgy will.
  • The scene with del Toro in the bathtub has such a bizarre and hilarious intensity to it.

Downers:

  • Weak plot.

Summary:

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a lot like marmite: you will either love it or you will hate it. The only way to find out which side of the fence you fall on, however, is to simply watch it. When you watch this film, prepare yourself for some drug-fueled craziness, keep an open mind, and try hard to not bust a gut when you see Tobey Maguire’s hair. Seriously, it’s like a blonde mammal of some kind died on top of it.

9.5/10

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9 Comments

Filed under Comedy, Drama, Mind Blowingly Awesome

9 responses to “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

  1. Yeah, this movie’s pretty damn trippy. But it’s also a lot of fun when it isn’t trying to be too thought-provoking and meaningful. Good review.

  2. Good choice for 4/20 dude!
    4/20 just so happens to be my birthday, so I elected to go to the theatres and see the new Trailer Park Boys movie. It was a solid choice. But this is a great choice, too! Loved your review, well written and great point about the flimsy plot.

  3. Trippy stuff man. I can never make my mind up about it, but this is generally how I feel about it when I do like it. Great review!

  4. moviebelle

    I saw this film recently and really liked it. Like you, I understand the concerns about the somewhat thin plot (2 guys go to Vegas, off their tits on drugs) but was too caught up in the performances/direction to care.

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