Madness. It makes no sense.
This is for sure a hallucinating, surreal, trippy trip to the Vegas I had ever been subjected to. Yet, I could not relate all the happenings in the film, substantiate them with a story and then take this is as one film. Terry Gilliam is a fantastic director who know how to play with written work and with the camera too. But here, something coherent in writing and camera work was missing.
Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke and Benecio Del Toro as Dr. Gonzo have played the roles with such conviction and freedom that they seem real, natural and the best part they feel like the characters and not the actors. They have given their everything into these characters like Johnny Depp going Bald and Del Toro growing a big fat tummy. It should have been a very daunting task for them physical and psychologically to hold this film tight in grip and give away their everything. Johnny Depp we know is one of the finest actors and turns into a chameleon. But Its Del Toro who rose above the script so high that even a look into the guys of a girl, made me shiver as much as the girl shivered.
Terry Gilliam made something creepy, hallucinating and even monochromatic with those red scenes sprayed for some good amount of time in the film. Yet, he did not stitch them well is what I strongly felt. Well, I agree that when under the influence of narcotics, its all random and nothing coherent or organised but when I look at the other films like Trainspotting and put this in that league, it had a big flaw. That one flaw is lack of a story. 2 guys go to Las Vegas, have fun and get back. OK, but how and what is the purpose. This is what is essentially lacking is what I felt.
Having said that, it is surely one of the trippy films and I may dare say indeed the best hallucinating films that hits the psyche when one is high. But sad part is, I was always sober when I watched it and also let me confess, this is the second time I watched. First viewing was random and I could not contemplate much, though I missed something. But in the second viewing now, I found that there is nothing much to talk or write or contemplate about this film.
Having said that it is not be a film to be written off either, some may find it completely trippy, of the cuff, brilliant and even flamboyant. Thus making it great. The music is used well, The cinematography, art direction, the costumes and the make up are just pitch perfect with the tone of the film. Even other departments like editing, casting must be appreciated. But yes, I believe it lacked Direction.
A film that begins with a terrific monologue and made me delve for the first half an hour into a trip, just lost steam later and it took me places where I was not so happy to be. Having said all that, it is very difficult for me to give a rating for this. Though it did not work for me, it may work for many who appreciate many elements of this and give this away for the lack of direction. So for myself I am going with an average rating of 2/5. But please check it out and judge it. Hopefully you may find something which you will like about this film.