Leaving Las Vegas

1995

Action / Drama / Romance

73
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 89%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 85%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 101921

Synopsis


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Downloaded 66,069 times
September 03, 2011 at 07:36 PM

Director

Cast

Nicolas Cage as Ben Sanderson
Mariska Hargitay as Hooker at Bar
Laurie Metcalf as Landlady
720p.BLU
500.57 MB
1280*720
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 51 min
P/S 5 / 71

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Lechuguilla 6 / 10

A Sad Journey

In this intense character study of a twenty something alcoholic and a prostitute, Nicolas Cage plays Ben Sanderson, a lonely failed screenwriter who travels from Hollywood to Las Vegas to end his life by drinking himself to death. Elisabeth Shue plays the prostitute, the only person in Vegas who shows any compassion toward Ben. It's a depressing movie.

The simple, thought provoking story gives us a journey of two lost souls who find each other, share their experiences, anguished and hurting as they are, adrift in a cold, uncaring world. We feel for these two people; we root for them. Yet, despite how physically attractive both are, their situation is dire.

It's hard to imagine a guy like Ben on such a trajectory. How can someone be so lacking both in self-knowledge and interpersonal relations; ditto Shue's character? I would have preferred that the scriptwriter make these two people a bit more complex, and allow Ben to make some attempt to change course.

As such the script is a tad manipulative. Viewers are supposed to come away with a specific message about loneliness and alcoholism. But the plot is too heavy handed, the message totally not subtle, and the overall story not realistic. Also, I did not like the Yuri subplot. In addition, the plot is repetitive. We see Ben's same behavior, in different settings, over and over and over.

Casting is acceptable; acting is quite good, especially Cage and Shue in the lead roles. High contrast lighting implies a subtle neo-noir quality. And as we would expect in a character study, there are a lot of closeup camera shots. Background music trends toward blues and what I would describe as sad jazz; music is a bit too loud in some scenes.

"Leaving Las Vegas" is a serious character study wrapped in Hollywood glitter, which only amplifies the mood of fatalism and desperation. For technical quality the film is quite good. But viewers need to understand that there is almost no humor and precious little entertainment here. The background music at the end is appropriate ... a soft, sad piano dirge.

Reviewed by dissident320 7 / 10

Finding rock-bottom

This movie is not a fun watch. It's not about a guy that loses it all and starts to drink. He's already lost it and is a semi-functional alcoholic.

Some really fantastic performances from Nic Cage and Elizabeth Shue here. It will probably stand as their most dramatic roles since they both have gone on to do a lot less heavy material. I had seen Cage turn in some decent performances here and there but I was really impressed with Elizabeth Shue. When the focus swings around to her I wasn't sure if the movie would fumble but she brings so tragedy and sadness to Sera I was both riveted and wanted to look away.

It's tough to recommend but it is undeniably powerful and moving. See it for the performances and watch something fun after. You'll deserve it.

Reviewed by svikasha 9 / 10

A Grim Love Affair in a Charming Setting

Hollywood has made a lot of movies about Las Vegas. Iconic films like "Casino", "Ocean's Eleven", "21", and "The Hangover", immediately come to mind, conjuring up images of adventure and glamour in the dessert that have captivated the public's imagination for decades. But this is truly a misconception, because the money and glamour of Las Vegas often overshadows the gloomy underbelly that is equally a part of the reality of the city. While Las Vegas continues to be a place where people go to let loose, gambling addiction, substance abuse, and sexual violence also come with the package. This coupled with the isolating loneliness of the dessert, makes Las Vegas a genuinely grim place. "Leaving Las Vegas" is one of the few films about Las Vegas produced by Hollywood that capture the true contradictory nature of this gambling oasis.

The film tells the story of a self-destructive alcoholic and a naïve escort who find comfort in each other to numb themselves from the pain of their lives. Nicolas Cage plays the alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter named Ben Sanderson who, after burning all of his bridges and losing his job, decides to move to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. In the opening scenes of the film, the extent of Ben's alcoholism is made blatantly self-evident when an out of control Ben chugs down a bottle of Vodka while driving next to a forgiving but judgmental police officer. During one particularly tragic moment, Ben drunkenly narrates to a young prostitute, "I don't know if I started drinking because my wife left me or my wife left me because I started drinking". The girl takes advantage of Ben's sorry state and proceeds to steal the man's wedding ring. Ben's love interest in the film has a story that is just as tragic. The female lead Sera, who is played by the Harvard alum Elisabeth Shue, is an escort who works for an abusive pimp at the Las Vegas Strip. After running afoul of eastern European mobsters, it is implied that Sera's pimp is murdered and Sera ends up running into Ben.

By portraying the gloomy dark side of Las Vegas as the setting of this doomed love story, the film highlights the qualities of Las Vegas that are usually obscured by the ditzy lights and entertainment. Although the initial encounter between the two characters leaves much to be desired, eventually a charming if not doomed relationship forms as these two free-floating characters try to assuage the pain of their individual flaws. While charming, the film is simultaneously cruel because both the male and female leads have horribly self-destructive tendencies. This leaves the audience with the strange realization that the love affair between these two characters is doomed for failure. Yet, the movie tries to remain hopeful and one can't help but admire both the acting and on-screen chemistry between the two male and female leads.

The greatest aspect of "Leaving Las Vegas" remains a subtle presence throughout the entire film. The grim nature of the story is hidden by the classical jazz and piano music as well as the upbeat soundtrack. The music is tastefully chosen to stand in deep contrast to the dark and grim nature of the circumstances of the two main leads. Perhaps the raw isolation of the dessert can bring anybody together. As an audience member, one can't help but wonder why these two self- destructive people are together. At one point the movie delivers an answer when the Sera admits says, "The only thing I have to come home to is a bottle of mouth wash to take the taste of cum out of my mouth. I'm tired of being alone. That's what I'm tired of". When one puts it like that, who isn't?

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