'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' (1998)

Terry Gilliam co-wrote and directed this insanely whacked out adaptation of the late Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson's 1971 novel. Johnny Depp plays journalist Raoul Duke and Benecio Del Toro his friend, attorney Dr. Gonzo -- the character is actually based on Thompson's friend Oscar Zeta Acosta who disappeared three years after the book was published. The psychedelic flick finds the two driving to Las Vegas in 1971 to cover the Mint 400 motorcycle race for a sports magazine. Along the way, they indulge in a massive amount of drugs and make life crazy for the unsuspecting citizens of Vegas. Gilliam said in an interview that he wanted the film to feel like a drug trip: "We start out at full speed, and it's WOOO! The drug kicks in and you're on speed! ... But then, ever so slowly, the wall starts closing in and it's like you're never going to get out of this ... place. It's an ugly nightmare and there's no escape." Maybe too ugly. The film bombed. Grade: Three tokes
Peter Mountain
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