Movie Review

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Reviewed by: Alan Gamboa
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Only
Genre:
Comedy/Drama
Length:
125 min.
R

Starring: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Cameron Diaz, Mark Harmon / Director: Terry Gilliam / Released by: Universal Pictures

When I went to see this movie with a couple of friends, I had no idea what it was about. All I knew was that Terry Gilliam was the director and he had directed some other movies I enjoyed (“Brazil”, “Fischer King”).

“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is based on the cult classic book of the same name by Hunter Thompson. On the surface it’s about a California journalist and his attorney friend on a drug-binged trip to Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race. Really, it’s about the raping of the American Dream.

Through out the whole movie, Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) never stop taking drugs of all kinds from marijuana to cocaine to ether. Terry Gilliam uses this to create some interesting visual effects and Johnny Depp gives a very believeable performance. The whole movie is a bad trip (and bad trips is mainly what the movie is about).

This movie glorifies drugs and drug-culture and includes heavy doses of sexually explicit and all-around revolting material. It’s sure to be a cult classic for the intoxicated (there were actually beer bottles in the theatre after it was over and I have NEVER seen beer bottles in a theater before). As far as for Christians, I would strong NOT recommend this movie. It will deliberately offend even the most mature Christian audience. The only reason I didn’t walk out is because I thought there might be some kind of moral or something redeeming about it, but there really doesn’t seem to be one at all.

Year of Release—1998

Viewer Comments
I thought “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” was the worst movie I’ve ever seen. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” sinks lower. Glorification of the self-indulgence of any kind is frivolous at best and when this self-indulgence is recreational drug use, it’s simply evil.

Moral relativism is the underlying justification that recreational druggies use, and the self-centered morass that this movie portrays disgusts me. Moral relativism is Satan’s arguement against the moral standard that the Lord gives us, and the resulting anarchy, even when appearing as harmless fun or benign, draws us further away from God’s Truth. Some would tell me not to push morality at them, but I wish that popular culture would stop pushing amoratliy and immorality at me.
—Claude Kutaka
The cliche of “glamorizing drug use” really trivializes a serious problem. These characterizations represent a generation of kids who don’t know (or forgot about) the Lord Jesus Christ—and who don’t have the support of a good family, pastor or/and youth minister in their lives. Just my .02 or .03 cents, thanks.
—Brian, age 25
While the whole film revolves around the drug-riddled adventures of the two lead characters, I do not agree that this film glorifies the use of drugs, nor does it portray them as “cool” or socially acceptable.

A couple of the drug sequences are hilarious (fighting giant bats with a fly-swatter while driving down the highway), most are highly disturbing, and the results of Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo’s drug binge, including paranoia, sickness, and the ruin of several people’s lives (such as Lucy), are very clear.

The cinematography and directing here is, also, nothing short of excellent. The film is often funny, but it really isn’t a comedy; it is more a satire on the society of the early 1970’s, and the loss of hope that many of them experienced, told through the eyes of one man who, ended up delving into all sorts of excess.

In this way, it is a very sad portrayal of a very messed-up society in desperate need of Christ, and trying to fill their God-shaped hole with anything. I would still agree with Mr. Gamboa, however, that this film is very warped, and should be steered clear of.
—Jason Murphy, age 18