Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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Released: 1998

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a drugged out psychedelic adventure from Terry Gilliam, the director of Brazil and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Journalist Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his lawyer, Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro), take to the road on a drug fueled rampage from Beverly Hills to Las Vegas in a ‘candy apple red’ convertible in search of the ‘American Dream.’ During their stay in Las Vegas, Duke is supposed to cover the ‘Mint 400,’ the premier dirt bike race comparable to the Kentucky Derby. The film emphasizes the ‘Gonzo’ style of journalism, characterized by the author of the novel from which the film was adapted, Hunter S. Thompson. On the journey to complete this task, the pair encounter many strange adventures all warped by the effects of substance abuse.

The first half of the film is quite the enjoyable drug induced romp. Depp’s constant narration allows for an introspective feel into how these various drugs affect the mind. This functions to pull the audience into the film, because it discusses a subject openly that’s a bit of a taboo; however, one idea can only hold the interest of the audience for so long (this appears to be the downfall of many films in the gore horror genre).

After the first hour, this film becomes repetitive and boring because the characters continue to take drugs with the same results. Perhaps, this is making a statement in regards to the monotonic effects of continued drug use or even the American Dream; however, the film reaches a point to where it is no longer fun to watch. This is furthered by the point that there is little to no character development.

The redeeming quality of the film is the performance of Depp. While far from his best act, this film is effective in delivering the entrancing atmosphere that only Depp is able to create.

Ultimately, this film is a one trick pony that will peak interests for an hour or so.

Rating: 4/10

By Cal Wayne

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Ever think to yourself, "Man, I sure would like to go on a psychedelic, drug fueled trip to Las Vegas, commit multiple felonies, and find the American dream?" -I think these kinds of things on a half-hourly basis. Spawning from Hunter S. Thompson's original novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is an adventure through the American Midwest filled with adventure, confusion, and lots and lots of hardcore drugs.

We follow the tale of a wacky charismatic sports reporter named Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his possibly insane Samoan lawyer Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) as they make their away around Sin City while constantly under the influence of various drugs. The many destinations and situations the two find themselves in throughout the movie make for a hilarious and fun journey from beginning to end.

Firstly, I cannot understate how important Johnny Depp is in making this film what it became. His narration skills are second only to Morgan Freeman, and delivers an amazingly hilarious perspective throughout the entirety of the movie. SOME PEOPLE might think that this movie loses it's luster after the first hour or so, but I wouldn't give a shit if it was 7 hours long; given that no film quite like Fear and Loathing could ever be made again, I would be fucking ecstatic for another 5 hours of  Johnny Depp tripping on acid. With all of the hilarious twists and turns that this movie offers, it also gives us a hint of the darker side of drug use. Towards the end I can't help but be inexplicably bothered by some aspects of this movie, and I have literally no idea why. Is it possible that I had become so immersed with Johnny Depp's character that even I felt the effects of his endless drug use? Probably not, but shit gets scary for a second.

This film is a roller coaster that will take you through the motions for the majority of the movie, I dare say it can be almost strenuous to watch at times, but perfectly placed comic relief often does a great job of dispelling the tension that continuously builds for most of the film. While character development does take place, it usually comes in bits and pieces, but it's about as much as you would expect from a movie about drugs, so it leaves very little to be desired.

Fear and Loathing is a journey like no other from the mind of a man like no other. Specifically the mind of a man who shot off his remains into the Colorado sunset via fireworks canon after committing suicide in 2005. God bless you, Hunter S. Thompson.

Rating: 8/10


  1. Brilliant film. Trippy as. But so funny

  2. I remember sneaking into a theater with a friend to watch Fear and Loathing in high school. The Good Doctor would have been proud. Your review of it is spot on though.

  3. 4 out of 10? utter bullshit I smell, it must be close.