Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) / Comedy-Drama
MPAA Rated: R for language, pervasive drug use, some violence, and crude images
Running Time: 118 min.
Cast: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire, Craig Bierko, Katherine Helmond, Ellen Barkin, Gary Busey, Christina Ricci, Mark Harmon, Cameron Diaz, Michael Jeter, Penn Gillette, Lyle Lovett, Flea, Laraine Newman, Harry Dean Stanton, Tim Thomerson, Hunter S. Thompson (cameo)
Director: Terry Gilliam
Screenplay: Terry Gilliam, Tony Grisoni, Tod Davies, Alex Cox (based on the book by Hunter S. Thompson)
Review published November 22, 1998
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is am attempt at a very literal film translation of the infamous 1971 novel by Hunter S. Thompson relating his drug-induced hallucinatory trip through Las Vegas when trying to cover a couple of events as a writer.
Take this review for what it's worth as I had to stop watching after 35 minutes because the monotony was literally putting me to sleep. What I did see was excruciatingly bad, with no plot or story to get into, just one long bad acid trip. Maybe that's the point, but as a film it just was neither entertaining nor interesting in the least. Director Terry Gilliam (Twelve Monkeys, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen) does a decent job visually, but this is by far the most ill-advised film he's done as perhaps the novel is just unfilmable.
Despite being virtually incoherent, it is perhaps of interest to Thompson fans, Gilliam-loving freaks, or anyone who has ever experienced a bad drug-induced trip. Everyone else should stay away from this film like the plague as it is easily one of the least enjoyable experiences you're ever likely to have watching a film. My pick for the biggest waste of celluloid in 1998, and a waste of the talents of every participant involved in this dreadful endeavor.
©1998 Vince Leo