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|Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
|Fear And Loathing is the screen adaptation of the 1971 novel by Hunter S Thompson, the self-professed founder of "gonzo journalism"... a fast, furious and over-exaggerated writing style that became famous in the pages of Rolling Stone magazine. In loosely autobiographical style, it tells the story of a chaotic drug-laden visit to Las Vegas by Thompson's alter-ego Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his unconventional attorney Doctor Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro).
Tearing through the desert in a huge red convertible under the influence of a mind-boggling array of mind-altering drugs, Duke and his sidekick ostensibly cover a desert motorbike race and a national narcotics conference, but in fact spend most of their time in a drugged haze, trashing hotel rooms and going right over the edge in every way possible.
This story is the perfect material for a visually-oriented director like Gilliam; he takes its hallucinations, paranoia, weird perspectives and black humour and twists them as far as he can. From the opening shot, the viewer is given no chance to orientate himself to the real world... we are trapped within the characters' distorted frame of reference, speeding through the film at dizzying speed.
This may all sound quite boring and disgusting, but the sheer inventiveness of the direction and the electrically good-humoured performances by Depp and Del Toro make it a wicked delight. There are repulsive moments that won't please every viewer, but the overall spectacle of the gonzo journalist and his companion tearing up the scenery in their impossible quest to find the true heart of America is a dazzlingly fresh piece of film-making. See it for its "end of an era" connotations or its over-the-top abandon that makes Edina and Patsy look like schoolgirls in comparison... just see it.
|Just the facts:
Title: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (199)
|The Players: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro
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Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia copyright © Festivale 1998 All rights reserved
Filed: Jun-1998 Last updated: 9-Jul-1998 Last tested: 3-Jul-2014 Last Compiled: 3-Jul-2014
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