Leaving Las Vegas Reviews
Nevertheless, I thought that 'Leaving Las Vegas' is a somewhat idealised account of dire alcoholism. This really struck me in an erotically charged scene in which the pair kiss and caress each other with the help of a large bottle of liquor - it's an image that would exist merely in the dreams of most addicts. However, the engaging central romance certainly beats 2 hours of a more ordinary dive into alcoholism, which would be a film of roughly two sets: a pub and a bedroom stained with urine, excrement, blood and vomit.
A film of this nature depends on a good central performance, and it gets one. Cage is depressingly real and effective as Ben. I am a fan of many of Cage's unhinged roles, however 'Leaving Las Vegas' is one the films that proves that when he moderates his idiosyncratic lunacy, he can produce genuinely good, measured performances.
The film is scored with smooth, melancholic Jazz tracks and the narrative is constructed by a tautly composed prologue which gives a brief insight into Ben's life before he left for Las Vegas. This includes a brilliant scene of Ben ridding himself of his personal and professional existence to the sound of Michael McDonald's energetic 'Lonely Teardrops'. It's a scene of mixed emotions, although he is condemning himself, it is also an act of liberation. Not much detail is given about his life in the prologue, however it is clear that he was a popular and successful family man. When he is fired, his boss says with a touching sincerity 'we enjoyed having you around here, but you know how it is', giving him a cheque which Ben describes as 'too generous'. This depth given to Cage's character makes his decline all the more tragic.
'Leaving Las Vegas' is dark, seedy and tragic. Recommended.
- Or is killing myself a way of drinking?"
Ben Sanderson (Nic Cage), once a promising screenwriter, decides to drink himself to death after losing everything, including hope, in his life. In Las Vegas, he meets a beautiful prostitute called Sera (Elizabeth Shue), who also is living a troubled life. Can an unexpected, abnormal love help them?
"You can never, never ask me to stop drinking. Do you understand?"
"Leaving Las Vegas" is a tough and depressing film to watch. Looking at a troubled man literally drink himself to death, and knowing that all that he needs is in front of him (and I'm not talking about the bottle...), may be a hard one to watch.
Nicolas Cage, who won an Oscar for his portrayal, does an authentic performance. He lives and breaths as Ben Sanderson. Truly one of the most heartbreaking performances in the history of cinema. This time, the golden statue went to the one who really deserved it. "Leaving Las Vegas" is the film that Nic Cage will be remembered by.
Elizabeth Shue's performance is just as high-class as Cage's. Those who remember her from such films as "Karate Kid" and "Back to the Future" should prepare themselves for something much more different.
Mike Figgis' direction is very good. He concentrates on that what is the strongest element of the movie, the character development. He gives us the viewers simple images, backed up with a beautiful jazzy score.
"Leaving Las Vegas" is a real gem. The film is touching but very tough to watch. In the end, it's a love story that will make those, who have it alright in their lives, to clinch on to that important thing they have. Hope and love.
Mike Figgis' grim drama documents a romantic triangle of sorts involving prostitute Sera (Elisabeth Shue), failed Hollywood screenwriter Ben (Oscar-winner Nicolas Cage), and the constant flow of booze which he loves more dearly than life itself. Arriving in Las Vegas with the intention of drinking himself to death, Ben meets Sera, and they gradually begin falling for one another. From the outset, however, Ben warns Sera that no matter what, she can never ask him to quit drinking, a condition to which she grudgingly agrees. A darkly comic tragedy, Leaving Las Vegas charts the brief romantic convergence of two desperately needy people who together find a brief flicker of happiness.
This movie is not my favorite love story, but nonetheless it's a good one. It is anything but a traditional story, but I think that it does a much better job of capturing the characters true emotions, than almost any romantic movie out there today. Both Shue and Cage come from different walks of life, and each have their own emotional problems. This makes it entertaining as a couple because they are essentially dysfunctional, but still manage to maintain a relationship. The performance by Cage is awesome, and Shue does a great job as well. Overall this movie is a rather dark love story with great acting and a good plot. My only complaints over the movie is that there are few minor characters and throughout the movie the volume is low and some dialog is hard to hear, also in many scenes the camera angle makes it hard to see what exactly is happening.