directed by Terry Gilliam


Johnny Depp and Benicio Del toro

I went to college the year this movie came out. I was extremely curious over 10 years without having been able to see it. Though i was mildly intrigued at the concept the actual execution of the project is probably too much sensory overload for me to truly appreciate. I imagine i should probably be as wasted as Hunter S. Thompson was when he wrote this and have total admiration for Terry Gilliam who i must admit is not exactly my favorite director although i did enjoy 12 MONKEYS.

It’s a story of a wild ride to vegas and a hangover that lasts forever. Basically it’s the rated x version of the hangover minus everything including good comedy and plot of any kind. This is a video game with no objective and no urgency the hero gets into random adventures including being drunk high and completely lost and or paranoid. Gilliam directs the chaos with admirable effectiveness but the problem is the utter lack of a good cinematic experience. Following it is a chore and i lost my way a couple times with no urgency to make sense of what i missed or what was going on. In fact the only time i enjoyed myself was when i turned it off.

Acting wise Depp and Del toro disappear completely into their characters but the aesthetic proves too dominating and overpowers the characters. We are left with wacked out camera angles and optical tricks that are effective only in confusing the hell out of the viewer.

On paper Gilliam seems the ideal choice for this material perhaps but the movie is beyond incomprehensible I really wanted to like this movie but it is just about as hard to watch as it gets. I’m sure the book is very good either way for what ever reason the subject matter and it’s execution don’t work here at-all.