Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
The credits for this film are tantalising to say the least: a cast fronted by Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro; mesmerising direction by Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam; and based upon the writing of Hunter S Thompson. It is astounding then that this film was widely overlooked by audiences at the cinema.
But with its release on VHS, cult status was assured. “Fear and Loathing…” ploughed across college campuses like a Cadillac through the desert, and this psychedelic, drug-fuelled hallucination of a road trip became the new standard by which others are judged.
Ostensibly, Depp’s Raoul Duke is travelling to Vegas to cover a bike race through the Nevada desert. Needless to say, he finds himself side-tracked by a briefcase full of narcotics and a particularly unsavoury travelling companion posing as his lawyer.
The performances are intense and the dialogue electrifying, but it was Gilliam’s visionary direction which made this film so unique. His outlandish glimpses into a world of drug-induced delirium redefined the “trip” in this particular road trip.
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