Directed by Terry Gilliam
Written by Hunter S. Thompson, Terry Gilliam, Tony Grisoni, Tod Davies, Alex Cox
I like crazy movies, I like 'desperate' stories, I like movies portraying extreme situations, but Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is even more than this, it is just a bizarre sequence of barely correlated episodes whose common aspect is the unmoderated use of drugs.
This means that the plot is rather thin, it could be simply summarized as the story of two men hanging about in Las Vegas, assuming any kind of drug, destroying hotel rooms and cars. The various sub-plots are just a way to let the story proceed, get more drugs and hallucination, and so on.
Although the movie is an adaptation from a book, the visual style is one of the most distinctive qualities it has to offer: flashing lights, people morphing into animals, weird camera angles, bizarre locations. It is impossible not to mention the scene with Johnny Depp waking up in an inundated room with various stuff sticked to his body including a fake reptile tail, a torch and a big tape-recorder, followed by some confused memory of the events that took him into this weird situation.
Johnny Depp is rather good playing his crazy drug addicted character, he sports a complete set of catchy sunglasses, weird clothing and he always has a cigarette in his mouth. Benicio Del Toro is less 'peculiar' but the duo is very well-assorted (one fat, one thin, one with a lot of hairs, the other nearly bald, both completely drunk!). Some other well-known actor plays minor roles or cameos, including the beautiful Cameron Diaz and an amazing Gary Busey playing a 'strange' police officer...
The voice-overs are quite interesting, the movie wouldn't work at all without them. In fact, the most funny parts are when the crazy thoughts of the main character are expressed in this way, when he describes the drugs they just took and their effects, obviously followed by a sequence that shows what he said in a rather vivid way.
Each 'episode' portrayed can be funny, disgusting or just weird, but overall they are weak considering the subject. The description of the society of the beginning of the '70s seems to be obfuscated like the brain of the characters so I haven't been able to find a clear 'message'. There are too many funny scenes and too many hallucinations that in the end tends to make the audience sick and tired of this distorted world. I understand that the movie wasn't intended to rational, let alone sober, but I am not convinced by the lack of a 'global' story and by the exclusive attention to the visual side as if the other 'details' were unimportant.