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Overall Rating
4.19

Awesome57.63%
Worth A Look: 25.42%
Average: 3.39%
Pretty Bad: 5.08%
Total Crap: 8.47%

3 reviews, 41 user ratings


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Leaving Las Vegas
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by Thom

"Best time to open up a new platinum card is just before killing yourself"
4 stars

So many good movies start out their lives as relatively obscure novels. I never read the novel but I liked the movie. A lot. Nicholas Cage totally rules and so does Elisabeth Shue. In case you didn't know the story, Nicholas Cage plays a depressed writer named Ben who decides to go to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. He doesnt' try to conceal his plans from anyone and he befriends a prostitute, Sera (Shue) who tries to talk him out of it, but then realizes that is what he wants to do and he makes her promise not to interfere. And guess what folks. He does it. Yup. Dude dies.

AHAHAHAHAHAH

That's HIGH-larious.

If you are going to go anywhere to debauch yourself to death, its Las Vegas. Have you ever seen how much booze flows through that town? If you haven't, let me tell you. A lot! People lay waste to their lives in Las Vegas. I don't know why anyone even goes. All that flash and glamour is just a trap. But if you want to fall into a trap, then yeah, its perfect. So I think that having the writer go to Las Vegas to drink himself to death was a good idea. It wouldn't have been exactly the same if he went to San Bernardino, or stopped short in Barstow.

Ben had to be a winner of a loser and go out with flair. It was his last ditch effort to have a meaningful connection to his life.

Booze, Vegas, Whores. Yeah BABY! Everyone always talks about how dark and depressing it was. Yeah? Get over it! Maybe YOU are dark and depressing. I don't want to say this movie is about a deeper truth, because its not. It's a compelling story. You always think, "Oh, I have to rescue this person", or movies are about rescue and the hero triumphing. Sometimes the Hero doesn't triumph and then we call him or her the anti-hero. Like Tom in Tennessee Williams Glass Menagerie or Mersault in Camus' The Stranger. Those people were totally jacked. Is it morally repugnant to not intervene in someone's best interest when they won't take responsibility for their life?

Well, Ben was a grown up and he can do what he wants. He made his case, he was sure he wanted to die and he knew how he wanted to do it. That dude was not going to call Suicide Hotline, go to an AA meeting or read any kind of Chicken Soup for the Soul book. He had it. He was done for. He was totally over it.

Of course it was based on a novel because no screenwriter would ever intentionally write a film with a tragic ending. Until American Beauty came along and now Hollywood is all over it, man. GIVE US TRAGEDY! They scream. TRAGEDY SELLS! Well, duh. Movies are about escape, but not always escape into fantasy. Sometimes they help us get into very deep, dark, emotional places. Leaving Las Vegas is one of those movies. It's about letting go, acceptance and the difficulties of love. It's also about giving someone the power over their own life and realizing that you are not responsible for the choices people make when they harm themselves.

So many people abuse other people emotionally with threats like, "I'll hurt myself if you don't .. or if you..." or "you'll be sorry when I'm dead". Ben wasn't supposed to get mixed up with Sera, he was supposed to drift quietly into town and out again in a Hearse. I had to go through a whole process along with Sera about how I felt about what Ben was doing. I identified with Sera in the movie more then Ben but I saw a little bit of myself in both of them. They are extreme ends of a continuum that most people travel up and down along every day.

Don't be afraid to hurt. That's all I can say. That's what this movie says to me. Don't wallow in self-pity either or make idle threats. Commit to your action and follow through, as they say in Improv.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=2313&reviewer=67
originally posted: 06/26/02 16:31:49
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2005 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/19/14 PAUL SHORTT POWERFUL, COMPELLING ROMANTIC DRAMA WITH SOME GREAT PERFORMANCES 4 stars
3/16/10 photodog sublimely powerful film, a beautifully realized tone-poem Not for everyone! 5 stars
8/01/09 Charles Clifford is not necessarily fair and balanced but does provide a view of life we seldom contemplate 4 stars
11/06/08 L. Gary Brutally honest, totally unforgiving, and well executed portrayals. 4 stars
10/13/08 Shaun Wallner Boring!! 1 stars
2/12/08 Monday Morning Saw this in '96 and quit drinking the next day. That's a powerful movie. 5 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Good direction but wow...Elizabeth Shue is a breathtakingly bad actress. 2 stars
2/27/07 The Rushmaster nicolas Cage you are a genious of an actor, this film should have given you academy awards 5 stars
8/31/06 Sepi53 dark, sad movie 3 stars
4/08/06 Indrid Cold I was hoping for more profundity, but still a satisfying, affecting story. 4 stars
3/26/06 Monster W. Kung One of the ten worst movies ever made. 1 stars
7/07/05 Cedric Elisabeth Shue. *drools* 5 stars
6/12/05 R.W. Welch Not a grabber but acting is impressive. (Do not watch while contemplating suicide.) 4 stars
5/30/05 Verbal Kint The greatest trick that Nolte ever pulled was convincing the world that he was Nic Cage! 5 stars
2/19/05 Captain Craig Im boycotting all Nick Nolte films for making me suffer the film with no redeaming value! 1 stars
2/14/05 Angolmois Horribly overrated Hollywood schmaltz. Cage is a ham, Shue is just OK. 2 stars
11/21/04 Pissed off Hey EFC, love the review-I especially liked the part where u gave away the ending. Fker. 1 stars
9/27/04 NJ Cup Winner 95-00-03 Largely depends on your patience for over-reaching Nic; mostly a downer 2 stars
9/16/04 Louis Lokossou I really love that movie, indeed.It raises about real life trouble.... 4 stars
8/22/04 Peter James Cage most definetly deserved the Oscar 5 stars
6/21/04 milehigh Amazing 5 stars
6/14/04 MyGreenBed Sloppy filmmaking, fantastic performance by Cage, unnessecary rape scene. 4 stars
2/25/04 Dingleburt HamsterPink Feel good film of the decade 5 stars
1/30/04 Elena Pretty amazing in conveying alcoholism and prostitution. Slighty slow at times. 4 stars
12/14/03 Image15 Nicolas Cage's best role to date...Shue works well too 5 stars
12/11/03 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) Really powerfully directed. Cast is kick-ass. Rape scene makes me not wanna shit 4 a week. 5 stars
5/08/03 Andrew Carden Knockout Performances By Cage & Shue Are Worth Watching. Great Direction. 5 stars
3/19/03 Monster W. Kung Depressing, boring, pointless. What a combination. 1 stars
1/22/03 Pinkline Jones I need a beer. Great film. 5 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock One of the absolute best. Cage and Shue have never been better. Figgis either. 5 stars
8/25/02 movie guy great 5 stars
6/04/02 zotteLORRE a lonely movie with very lonely characters 5 stars
5/25/02 Butterbean A very fucked up and touching movie 4 stars
3/02/02 Alan Smithee Very dark and sometimes difficult to watch, it's still a great film. 5 stars
10/30/01 Shams Huque Superb performances. Very grim though. 5 stars
10/27/01 Clint "The Degenerate" Peterman I like "Leaving Yazoo City" better. Beh!!! 5 stars
8/02/01 INCUBATOR . 5 stars
7/26/01 Judith Latham Beatiful and dark. It will leave you moved. Cage and Shue are beyond belief good. 5 stars
6/28/01 Steve Shopping for hard liquor. Drinking hard liquor while driving. So? I do this everyday 5 stars
2/19/01 doingtimein419 actually one of my favorite movies...and yeah, it's depressing as hell. 5 stars
7/12/00 Daren Redmond Grim, Grim, Grim but ok! Why am I the first "rater"? 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  27-Oct-1995 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Mike Figgis

Written by
  Mike Figgis

Cast
  Nicolas Cage
  Elisabeth Shue
  Julian Sands
  Richard Lewis
  Steven Weber
  Valeria Golino



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