More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.9

Awesome49.03%
Worth A Look: 20.87%
Average: 11.65%
Pretty Bad: 8.25%
Total Crap: 10.19%

12 reviews, 134 user ratings


Latest Reviews

MFA by Jay Seaver

You Only Live Once by Jay Seaver

November (2017) by Jay Seaver

Friendly Beast by Jay Seaver

Foreigner, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

Tom of Finland by Rob Gonsalves

Happy Death Day by Jay Seaver

78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene by Jay Seaver

Death Note: Light Up the New World by Jay Seaver

Brawl in Cell Block 99 by Peter Sobczynski

subscribe to this feed


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by The Ultimate Dancing Machine

"Massively underrated"
5 stars

The fact that this wonderfully weird adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's book came from Universal gives me hope for Hollywood. The fact that nobody liked this movie takes it away again. Ah, well...

I suspect that people who liked the original book (published in 1971) will appreciate this movie more than anyone else--it's an absolutely pitch-perfect evocation of Thompson's manic, colorfully paranoid vision. It may be that no one but Terry Gilliam could have pulled this off, that only a director who goes regularly goes over the top with ease could have captured what is essentially a two-hour drug trip.

The plot, not that it matters very much, has reporter Raoul Duke (Thompson's alter ego, played by Johnny Depp) and his sleazy attorney Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) in Las Vegas to cover a car race. But as they've been taking serious amounts of drugs, they soon get, to understate considerably, sidetracked, to the point where they're soon carousing around Vegas in a semi-psychotic state.

Most Thompson fans are aware of Ralph Steadman's psychedelia-tinged artwork, which adorns the book, illustrating various scenes from it. Gilliam and company were clearly influenced by Steadman. When Duke and Gonzo pick up a hitchhiker (Tobey Maguire), the guy actually looks like he does in the drawing. More importantly, however, Gilliam has caught the tone of Thompson's book. It's easy to dismiss Thompson as a sensationalistic hack--though I wouldn't--but in Fear and Loathing he wasn't simply writing about dope; he was trying to capture that moment in the early 1970s when the idealism of '60s was just beginning to give way to druggy decadence. You see that wistfulness in the movie as well. It's not really about drugs; it's about paradise lost, or perhaps paradise that never was.

The actors are superb in their respective roles. Depp is Thompson, essentially; he's all spastic mannerisms and tight-jawed mumbling. Del Toro, though he fumbles a few lines, is similarly accomplished as his wild-and-crazy sidekick. Both these guys spend a good deal of the film falling on their faces, and you can see why so many found this movie unbearably monotonous. But Gilliam does vary the pace enough to keep things moving. And the funhouse visuals are a pleasure--my favorite motif is the back-and-forth rocking of the frame during some of the dialogue scenes, as if the actors were seasick.

The movie manages to illustrate a certain attitude, a way of seeing society that, if we're lucky, we don't share ourselves. It's one of the standout films of the late '90s.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=2&reviewer=223
originally posted: 04/29/02 14:49:04
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

8/25/16 Matt “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take 5 stars
2/18/15 vid “But our trip was different. It was a classic affirmation of everything right and true an 5 stars
4/15/14 Al Without a doubt one of the most twisted, depraved and utterly brilliant films of the 90's. 5 stars
5/20/12 mr.mike Grows tiresome but the humor of the 2 stars make it worth seeing. 4 stars
6/10/11 JiffyPop The most repeatably watchable film other than The Big Lebowski 5 stars
5/29/10 PAUL SHORTT SORDID AND MONOTONOUS 1 stars
5/25/10 Scott I've seen this movie at least 25 times and I will watch it over and over through the year 5 stars
12/28/09 Ralle Yeah, welcome to the happy place... 5 stars
7/20/08 Shaun Wallner Depp is so funny!! 5 stars
7/02/08 Chris EXELLENT! This film is a benchmark in acting skills 5 stars
4/28/08 Jeremy This is one of a kind cinima 5 stars
1/14/08 Quigley One of the strangest films ever made, but also very interesting. Incredible Johnny Depp 5 stars
12/03/07 SamanthaP depp and del toro are both freaking amazing in this movie 5 stars
4/20/07 marc awesome,mindblowin movie 5 stars
10/16/06 sean this film changed my life..amazing 5 stars
3/23/06 giles flowitt-hill wicked movie.......i know how the guy feels :P 5 stars
3/06/06 BLAKE DEPP IS AWESOME, AND SO R THE TRIPS 5 stars
2/06/06 nat good movie to watch while trippin 5 stars
12/19/05 Bree There are no words. It just rules like Mao Tse-Tung 5 stars
11/11/05 zeitgeist Brilliant, hilarious, imaginative. And the book is even better! 5 stars
10/14/05 John smith yo you suck this movie rocked 5 stars
10/08/05 bEeN fucking awesome....... everytime i see this movie again, i see something new. 5 stars
9/25/05 D Buckley puke 1 stars
9/17/05 james althputh 5 stars
7/19/05 Eric Rollins A bad trip, makes me yearn for Bill Murray's fiasco. 2 stars
7/10/05 asina gilliam, depp and del toro are brilliant. 5 stars
6/27/05 matt AWESOME, but you can only understand it if you've done drugs 5 stars
3/16/05 Andrea Am I tripping?? College deja vu! 4 stars
2/22/05 Jeff Anderson A GREAT & RIGHTFULLY BIZARRE MASTERPIECE! REALLY FAITHFUL TO THE HUNTER S. THOMPSON BOOK!!! 5 stars
2/18/05 Naka "Bleh, it has no plot, it makes no sense." SHUT UP AND HAVE FUN! So much fun despite flaws. 5 stars
8/28/04 the bride Who said anything about slicing you up? I just wanna cut a little Z in your forehead... 5 stars
8/09/04 Patrick Landry Feels like you're tripping along with the Duke! 5 stars
8/05/04 burnowski absolutely incredible, depp and del torro's best performance 5 stars
7/24/04 Desperado There he goes, one of god's own prototypes... too weird to live and too rare to die 5 stars
7/11/04 R.W. Welch Bizarre, often funny trip flick. Rambles on some but neatly written. 4 stars
6/07/04 Elena Basically, anything about drugs is going to seem awesome. But this truly is a genius film. 5 stars
3/30/04 Samuel Johnny Depp's best performance ever!!! 5 stars
2/02/04 Raven there ISN'T a better drug movie 5 stars
1/28/04 y2mckay If you're baked, it's worth 4 stars. If you're not, it's worth about 2. So, I'll give it 3 3 stars
1/25/04 Nebenniere Der film is geil, mein leben... 5 stars
1/05/04 cwlg420 A must see for any college freshmen 5 stars
12/28/03 jan the greatest film about drug abuse ever 5 stars
11/07/03 tell me about the golf shoes this is the best fuckin movie ever 5 stars
10/30/03 Branagh Hater "A dog fucked the pope, no fault of mine."- Raoul Duke 5 stars
10/14/03 herman ho-ching very interesting movie i reccommend it 5 stars
10/14/03 Erik Van Sant Terrifying, hilarious, and visually stunning. Depp is amazing as is Gilliam's direction. 5 stars
9/18/03 Samuel Justus Great Movie, it seems that Independent films are better than mainstream films! 5 stars
9/09/03 Manny Bothans 'A' Class...#1 5 stars
8/10/03 Phil Learning to cope with your dead grandmother crawling up your leg with a knife in her teeth 5 stars
8/04/03 Lorraine Emanuele F&L=the "Whipped Cream of Chaos" for which Humanity perpetually craves and quests. 5 stars
7/17/03 Mr. Hat Depp and Gilliam should've won lots of awards. Del Toro and the soundtrack kick ass, too. 4 stars
5/12/03 Jack Bourbon Gotta love the graceful ether-affected entrance. 4 stars
5/11/03 berserker I've never seen it without being under the influence of some wonderful drug. Funny as hell. 5 stars
5/04/03 sleepy awesome film 5 stars
4/12/03 Xavier Amazingly acurate portrayal of an extremely funny book 5 stars
3/29/03 JEAN-PIERRE FRANCOIS LUC it's a very good movie 5 stars
3/18/03 Fenster Gimme the fuggin' acid, ya fuggin' cocksuckah! 1 stars
3/07/03 Glenn scary close to the feeling 5 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby Overdirected, nonsensical garbage. Targeted for artsy gullibles. 1 stars
1/09/03 willy a classic drug film 5 stars
11/17/02 snowconehead This is the greatest movie ever made 5 stars
11/15/02 NIck mccoy This is the greatest movie of all time!!! 5 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 You'd have to be a raging drug addict to like this movie, but I guess that's the life, huh? 1 stars
10/16/02 Charles Tatum Overdoses on its own attitude; Hunter is a colossal asshole anyway 1 stars
10/02/02 Joe Excellent rendering by Gilliam, Depp, and del Toro of Thompson's wildly unfilmable book. 5 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock The book is superb. This film boring despite Johnny Depp The Wonderful. 1 stars
9/26/02 Morally Sound Return to the Circus-Circus. . . Looking for the Ape. . . to hell with the American Dream! 5 stars
9/09/02 .Choadushouse. 100% INSANE. Lots of funny shit and the actors are fucked up!!! This is good! 4 stars
8/29/02 IMAGINATION GREAT MOVIE! 4 stars
8/25/02 Turkish great movie about the phsycology of drugs, and butterbean is a fuckin fruitcake 5 stars
8/01/02 Corey Mar One of the most beautiful productions I have ever viewed... if you understand it that is. 5 stars
7/27/02 sdjfsdkjf mild curiousity perhaps Jackie? How else would we form opinions? It wasn't sick it was SHIT 1 stars
7/21/02 Jackie For all the people who said it makes you sick & has no story line then why did you see it? 5 stars
7/09/02 snowconehead greatest movie ever made 5 stars
6/04/02 zotteLORRE blurred, drugged-out reality 5 stars
5/01/02 stoolie-bird you can't appreciate this movie if you've never had a drug filled road trip. 4 stars
4/30/02 Monster W. Kung Bad, unfunny and boring movie. I can't believe Gilliam did this. 2 stars
4/26/02 Charles Tatum Watch Breakfast of Champions or Requiem for a Dream instead 2 stars
4/10/02 Butterbean Totally unwatchable! I would be better off holding a kaleidoscope to my eye! 1 stars
3/02/02 Alan Smithee What in the hell were they thinking?!! Mr. Gilliam actually made a terrible film.......... 1 stars
2/22/02 luda hoe sure, i didn't know what was going on, but it was still bitchin 4 stars
2/17/02 sauerkrout I was roarin 5 stars
1/31/02 da_punk "Don't stop here, this is bat country" 5 stars
1/15/02 Andrew Carden Unfunny and Confusing Movie. Gives Gilliam A Bad Name. 2 stars
12/30/01 sarafina I think I fell off the sofa twice watching this 5 stars
12/11/01 viking anyone with half a brain would steer clear of this crap. 1 stars
11/17/01 daniboy what the fuck? 5 stars
11/09/01 Mark Too confusing to enjoy. Horrible compared to Cheeck and Chong's movies 1 stars
9/24/01 Elgyn "I ride the big fuckers....you know, the BIG fuckers!" 5 stars
9/16/01 -=Da{-_-}Hypno=- MY TASTE! heheh 5 stars
5/04/01 Gracy Lionheart Interesting in a way, but most of it was BORING!!! 2 stars
3/28/01 Jesse L If you like Hunter Thompson, and you liked "Where the Buffalo Roam" this is a letdown 1 stars
3/09/01 master Greatest movie ever made on acid 5 stars
3/06/01 nazipunkme@hotmail.com look what GOOOOD did to us. God didn't do that you asshole, you did. 5 stars
1/17/01 the Grinch WHITE RABBIT! Plays like Cheech and Chong's evil twins. Hilarious and well filmed! 5 stars
1/13/01 Emily "Bat Country!" incredibly quotable and witty. it gets better every time you see it. 5 stars
12/24/00 bub im hit!!! 5 stars
12/17/00 Andrew I can't believe I sat through the whole thing. It sucked but something wouldn;t let me turn 2 stars
11/15/00 MiS^DeMeAnOr I hated it, the was told the book was better, somehow i don't think so... 1 stars
11/06/00 Jinx "One toke you poor fool! Wait till you see those goddam bats man!" 5 stars
11/03/00 Mark and Bob "Make that bastard chase you, he will follow" - Marvellous !! 5 stars
8/16/00 Drew Vogel Hilarious, terrific 5 stars
7/13/00 Joseph Schmolsky Weak interpretation of an important novel 2 stars
6/27/00 yankee decent, lacks any plot, a couple laughs along the way 3 stars
6/24/00 Aaron White The best pro-drug(?) movie we can hope for. Visionary in a bleak fashion. 4 stars
6/03/00 Bob Wombat "We can't stop here! This is Bat Country!" Brilliant 5 stars
5/23/00 EZ AS Rather boring unless your on artificial stimulants 3 stars
5/07/00 perverted pixie Thompson's novel+Terry Gilliam+Johnny Depp= Complete insanity, of course! 5 stars
2/16/00 Kyle Broflovski Blark. Some things are just better left as words. 2 stars
12/05/99 Alyssa JD nailed Hunter S. Great acting. 5 stars
9/25/99 David Myers Nothing I want nothing 5 stars
7/14/99 Marshy They said it was unfilmable and it is. You will be bored. Use drugs. 3 stars
6/15/99 Dylan A bit fucking odd this. The book is average but the film is surprisingly entertaining. 4 stars
5/04/99 Big Dog oh god, did you eat all of this acid? 4 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson Trippy dude. 4 stars
3/14/99 Ah Dooey There was a drug movie?! 5 stars
3/10/99 burke if you didn't read the book you won't appreciate the way gilliam brought it to life. 5 stars
1/12/99 Johny Top 10 of '98 5 stars
1/03/99 Jeff This movie was like an acid trip--It started out fun, then got really boring. 2 stars
12/31/98 Todd "Ignore this terrible drug" 5 stars
12/10/98 Marion Davies Worst, most insulting piece of shit I've ever seen! Disgusting, poorly acted & directed! 1 stars
9/28/98 Brandon B. Hunter S Thompson is just plain Gonzo. 5 stars
9/26/98 Maegs The destruction alone is worth checking it out. 4 stars
9/18/98 Dutch If i hadn't started a fight with the dude behind me, it would have gotten 5 stars. 4 stars
8/30/98 Matt once you get over the slightly unusual plot, its a damn funny flick 4 stars
8/25/98 The Capital City Goofball Drug movies make me dizzy. 3 stars
8/20/98 The Man With The Helmet Hunter S. is a living legend. He should be put in a glass case at the Smithsonian. 4 stars
8/17/98 Kimberly 2 of the best hours I've spent in a theatre alone ! =) 5 stars
8/17/98 Pythomas Terry Gilliam does his job as queasily expected. Not for the faint-hearted. 5 stars
8/17/98 Miss Stress it was like a really bad acid trip, something i would not want again 2 stars
8/16/98 Johny Fucking Bats. 4 stars
8/14/98 Minipulator I've done mushrooms. I've done mesculine. This tripped me out more. 4 stars
8/12/98 Beetchslarp Whoa, mama. Was I on cookies. 2 stars
6/04/98 Eileen It wasn't that great, just like all of Terry Gilliam's films. Oogah.. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  22-May-1998 (R)
  DVD: 18-Feb-2003

UK
  N/A

Australia
  16-Jul-1998 (MA)




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast