Fear and Loathing in Las
Vegas - rated - SIMMERING
Don't believe what the critics are saying - this film is worth seeing.
More than that, it is very funny, looks great, and is destined to be a
cult classic - if it isn't that already.
Look, this is Terry Gilliam, for heaven's sake! He's one-of-a-kind.
You've got to see everything film does. So Hollywood doesn't trust
him...isn't that a recommendation? Gilliam doesn't disappoint here. The
visuals on this film are fabulous. Even the most scathing critics have
to concede that. But what they don't say is that this film is a
remarkable job of direction. Gilliam does great special effects, sure,
but he also moves the camera like a gymnast, producing some of the best
floating shots I've ever seen. And the look of the film changes
constantly - we go from road movie to claustrophobic "film brun" to a
fabulous dust storm to wide shots in a pink powder room. The pace
changes too. And contrary to what the critics seem to think, there is a
narrative structure: it's chronological. First we did this, and then we
did this, and then we did this. Remember that one? It still works. In
fact, when I left the theatre I remarked that I was surprised at how
coherent the narrative was.
There's some great comedy here too - both in the script, and in the
performances. There's some terrific physical comedy: the scene where
both our heroes are on ether is a classic. Sure, Johnny Depp looks like
a strange choice for Hunter S Thompson, but then, when you look at
pictures of Thompson, you can see the similarity. I was fascinated by
Depp's legs (which are on display at all times in horrible shorts). And
speaking of horrible - there's Benecio del Toro looking disgusting and
So there's a lot of drug-taking - it is way over the top. But this is
comedy, guys. It's not real!
There is some vomiting, but not as much as you'd think, and one of the
vomiting scenes is absolutely hilarious. There are some scary moments
too - just to inject some reality into the romp. And there are a couple
of moments for reflection, too - one of which is quite lovely. I'm
really surprised at the critics who have called this film monotonous
and boring. I just wonder what they were expecting.
I went to see Fear and Loathing not expecting much, and I was
pleasantly surprised. It is a movie to relax into. One in which you can
just sit back and let it happen. So pretend it's the 70s, and lie back
and wait for the drugs to start working.