“We were somewhere around Barstow when the drugs began to take hold.” It is 1971, and journalist Raoul Duke barrels towards Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race, accompanied by a trunkful of contraband and his slightly unhinged Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo. But what is ostensibly a cut-and-dried journalistic endeavor quickly descends into a feverish psychedelic odyssey and an excoriating dissection of the American way of life. Director Terry Gilliam and an all-star cast (headlined by Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro) show no mercy in bringing Dr. Hunter S, Thompson’s legendary Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to the screen, creating a film both hilarious and savage. —The Criterion Collection
Terrence Vance Gilliam was born in Minnesota on 22 November 1940. After eleven early years of a Huckleberry Finn/Tom Sawyer-type childhood (his description), his family moved to LA. There he was a witness to the Hollywood system, from the fringes. As a kid, his drawing and cartooning skills developed. After graduating from school where he apparently excelled at pole vaulting, Gilliam went to the Occidental College, studying Physics, which he later changed to Politics. In his last year at college, Gilliam sent copies of his college magazine work to comic maestro Harvey Kurtzman in New York.
Kurtzman was running a magazine called Help!, and was impressed. When writer Charles Alverson left the magazine, a vacancy arose, and Gilliam took a job there. He spent the next three years there – writing, designing and drawing – but being paid very little. During the time at Help!, he met John Cleese, who was roped in to star in a photo-story spoof – as a guilt-ridden man involved in an… read more
The acting, imagination (including a dash of cultural commentary), and the mix of disturbing and hilarious all combine together into a mutant of a movie that is highly enjoyable but hard to love (most likely due to it's un-relentless pace that doesn't take a sliver of a moment to let it take it what we witness).
"There he goes.One of God's own prototypes.A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production.Too weird to live, and too rare to die." definitely on of my all-time favorite movie quotes
On scene by scene basis there's a lot to like, it's a perfect background film. but not until reading the book was it apparent why the film never clicked for me. Gilliam's sensibilities are always too whimsical what's missing is the 'Fear' that's constantly resurfacing in the book, Gilliam approached adaptation in the way Truffaut criticized tackling only the film-able aspects.Fun but its only surface level.
The stories behind both the novel and the film sound more engaging than the “passion-project homage” itself.
"Ein ewiger Pechvogel?" asks Frank Noack in Der Tagesspiegel. Loosely translated, Noack's wondering out loud whether Terry Gilliam, who turns
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is anything but a forgettable experience. Gilliam creates a disturbingly hectic atmosphere, where not even the viewers will know the difference between reality and fantasy… read review
This surreal masterwork of unorthodox imagery is an absolute wonder to behold. Gilliam’s film is a cautionary parable about the inescapable pull of the American Dream and the false promises and lengths… read review
I’ll wade right into the argument: not better/worse but different.
For me this version was about the visual more than the acting although Depp and Del Toro proved much more than just adequate… read review