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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
dir. Terry Gilliam / USA 1998 / 118’
subtitles: Polish


Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire, Ellen Barkin, Christina Ricci, Cameron Diaz

Film description

Before the distorted image of Johnny Depp in a fishing cap found its way to the bottom shelves of video rental shops among other dusty videotapes, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas made its way through multiplexes and raucous parties, playing exuberant accessory to alcoholic stupors and narcotic excursions. In a panicked race of disillusionment, the film's characters discover the counterculture’s dream of freedom and fulfilment has dried up. The two protagonists rent the most-American-of-all-cars – a red Cadillac – and set off for that glittering epitome of American dreams – Las Vegas, where they stumble through a series of hallucinatory experiences. Hunter S. Thompson, author of the groundbreaking and renowned novel of the same title, was a child of the 1960s revolution and his book was a reaction to the subsequent stagnation of Nixon’s America. Since Thompson was actively involved in the tide of change that swept America in the late 1960s, he could also give a very personal account of how the initially refreshing wave sank without a trace into the sunburnt ground of the early 1970s. Gilliam succeeds in translating Thompson’s fear and loathing into the language of film; the overwhelming effect is paranoia – not unlike what you might feel if you found yourself in a land you didn’t recognize where no one speaks your language and all your personal effects have been lost. If no one recognised you, would you still recognise yourself?

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