Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (Criterion) (Blu-Ray)
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It is 1971, and journalist Raoul Duke barrels toward Las Vegas—accompanied by a trunkful of contraband and his unhinged Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo—to cover a motorcycle race. His cut-and-dried assignment quickly descends into a feverish psychedelic odyssey. Director Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, Brazil) and an all-star cast headlined by Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands, Donnie Brasco) and Benicio Del Toro (The Usual Suspects, Che) show no mercy in adapting Hunter S. Thompson’s legendary dissection of the American way of life to the screen, creating a film both hilarious and savage.
DIRECTOR-APPROVED BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES • Digital transfer, approved by director Terry Gilliam, with a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and an optional 5.1 mix • Three audio commentaries: one with Gilliam, one with stars Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro and producer Laila Nabulsi, and one with author Hunter S. Thompson • Deleted scenes, with optional commentary by Gilliam • Selection of Thompson correspondence, read on camera by Depp • Hunter Goes to Hollywood, a short documentary by filmmaker Wayne Ewing • A look at the controversy over the screenwriting credit • Profile of Oscar Zeta Acosta, the inspiration for Dr. Gonzo • Collection of artwork by illustrator Ralph Steadman • Audio excerpt from the 1996 spoken-word CD Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, featuring filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and actor Maury Chaykin • Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood, a 1978 BBC documentary with Thompson and Steadman • Storyboards, production designs, stills gallery, theatrical trailer, and TV spots • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman and two pieces by Thompson
The original cowriter and director of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was Alex Cox, whose earlier film Sid and Nancy suggests that Cox could have been a perfect match in filming Hunter S. Thompson's psychotropic masterpiece of "gonzo" journalism. Unfortunately Cox departed due to the usual "creative differences," and this ill-fated adaptation was thrust upon Terry Gilliam, whose formidable gifts as a visionary filmmaker were squandered on the seemingly unfilmable elements of Thompson's ether-fogged narrative. The result is a one-joke movie without the joke--an endless series of repetitive scenes involving rampant substance abuse and the hallucinogenic fallout of a road trip that's run crazily out of control. Johnny Depp plays Thompson's alter ego, "gonzo" journalist Raoul Duke, and Benicio Del Toro is his sidekick and so-called lawyer Dr. Gonzo. During the course of a trip to Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race, they ingest a veritable chemistry set of drugs, and Gilliam does his best to show us the hallucinatory state of their zonked-out minds. This allows for some dazzling imagery and the rampant humor of stumbling buffoons, and the mumbling performances of Depp and Del Toro wholeheartedly embrace the tripped-out, paranoid lunacy of Thompson's celebrated book. But over two hours of this insanity tends to grate on the nerves--like being the only sober guest at a party full of drunken idiots. So while Gilliam's film may achieve some modest cult status over the years, it's only because Fear and Loathing is best enjoyed by those who are just as stoned as the characters in the movie. The DVD offers the film in its full 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The true star of the film of course is Johnny Depp, on whose masterful portrayal of Duke the movie hinges. He flails around frenetically, spitting out his words like a mad man in a fantastically broken style where the words trip over each other excitedly, racing to all get out at the same time lest some vital thought be lost in the overall melee, followed by pauses where he seems unsure of what he was saying in the first place. What's the deal here? What happens next?
Depp is ably aided and abetted by a chunky Benicio Del Toro who, despite his racial handicap, manages to portray the vicious and psychotic Samoan attorney that Duke is almost never without. The two of them then busily careen around Vegas, having fun, breaking the rules and searching for the American Dream.Read more ›
While many critics accuse this movie of being shallow and annoying, it is probably because they are too full of themselves to understand what it's about. On the surface, it's about two rambling, drunk, and drugged crazies roaming the west, but it's full of witty humor (it takes several viewings to catch it all) and fantastic underlying themes that seem to be lost on the majority that can't appreciate this fine work of art.
While it's not excessively graphic (ala Requim for a Dream), Fear and Loathing does contain many scenes of drug use, and constant language. Obscene? Certainly. But if you don't take it at face value, it's a wonderful thrillride aiming to find the true American Dream.
Buy the ticket, take the ride. It's well worth it.
Duke has set off to Vegas with his attorney and a boot-full of the craziest drugs you could ever imagine in one setting. The entire course of the film is basically one enormous trip, and the part I particularly enjoyed about this film is that no matter how bent, there's always Duke talking you through the moment - expressing his terror and euphoria.
I heard something about a lot of parents lobbying against this film because of the high drug intake, but in my opinion, after seeing bats attack you, reptiles in the casino lounge, and your attorney grow breasts on the side of his body, I don't think I'd ever touch the stuff these guys take. Films like Requiem For A Dream, Trainspotting and Fear and Loathing just help emphasise the reality of drug taking, and show the lows as well as the highs.
I commend the crew on this one.
Most recent customer reviews
Great movie. No director commentary on this blu-ray though.Published 4 months ago by Scott W Rogers
I received an empty case!!!!! There was no movie inside! This is the fist time this happens to me.Published 6 months ago by Melissa
cé donc ben l'fun acheter des affaires, tsé quand t'a l'gout de te sentir en vie, y a rien comme sortir ta carte de créditPublished on Jan. 29 2014 by simon roy
Fear and Loathing on Criterion Blu, the way it was meant to be presented. Astonishing picture presentation, wonderful bonus materials (including Hunter Thompson's own DVD... Read morePublished on May 16 2011 by Clinton K. Bernes