An alcoholic whose life falls apart decides to sell up and move to Las Vegas with the express intention of drinking himself to death, where he meets a prostitute with whom he embarks on a dysfunctional relationship.
The ultimate expression of a love story between two people who refuse to change who they are, Leaving Las Vegas has a real European flavour to it; this is the kind of self destructive, tragic romance that is usually the proviso of the French. Some may find his affected performances understandably irritating, but his manic shambling/shouting repartee is actually perfect for the part of a drunk circling the pan of his life and this is surely one of his best. Elisabeth Shue is less convincing, perhaps a little too attractive and clean cut for the part she is playing and the supporting characters – Julian Sands’ Yuri in particular – aren’t really explored. The garish bright lights of Las Vegas make the perfect backdrop for the story however and there are many memorable moments, mainly provided by Cage’s drunken rampages. I could’ve done without Sting’s faux jazz crooning that permeates the film and it did feel a little like a case of style over substance on second viewing but it has moments of genius – including the least erotic yet touching sex scene you are likely to see – and is the kind of film I wish was made in America a little more often.
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas meets Love Story.