Leaving Las Vegas (1995)


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.



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