Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.
Loretta Castorini, a book keeper from Brooklyn, New York, finds herself in a difficult situation when she falls for the brother of the man she agreed to marry (the best friend of her late husband who died seven years previously).
To foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a face-transplant surgery and assumes the identity of a ruthless terrorist. But the plan backfires when the same criminal impersonates the cop with the same method.
Because his wife left him and took his son with her, screenwriter Ben Sanderson has started drinking, a lot. He's getting more and more isolated and he troubles women in bars because he wants to have sex with them. When he gets fired, he decides to leave everything behind and move to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. In Las Vegas he meets Sera, a prostitute with some problems as well who he moves in with. Written by
Marco van Hoof <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Author John O'Brien, on whose novel this movie is based, committed suicide two weeks after the movie went into production. Director Mike Figgis contemplated abandoning the project, but decided the film would make a good memorial for O'Brien. See more »
When driving through Las Vegas, Ben finishes a bottle of Vodka, two minutes later there is liquid in the bottle again. Since he is severely alcoholic, it can be expected though that it's not necessarily the same bottle, he may also have opened a second one. See more »
[Ben has been on another binge]
I want you to see a doctor.
Sera... I'm not gonna see a doctor. Perhaps now would be a good time for me to move back to a motel.
And do what? Rot away in a room? We're not gonna talk about that. Fuck you, we're not gonna talk about that!
[starts to cry]
You're staying here! You could do this for me. I've given you gallons of free will around here.
[throws her chopsticks on the table]
You could do this one thing for me!
I have to go to work now.
See more »
The opening credits do not appear until fifteen minutes into the film. See more »
If Mike Figgis never made another film, and Nick Cage and Elizabeth Shue retired after making Leaving Las Vegas, they would have done so with impunity. Both actors are superb, and bring the excellent screenplay to life with the help of some masterful dramatic cinematography.
Cage plays a suicidal alcoholic who has come to Las Vegas to drink himself to death, and Shue plays the unexpected problem - a prostitute who falls in love with him. The only reason this film did not receive a ten from me is the voice-over technique which was tastefully minimal, but, in my opinion, the only mistake the director made. It does help to provide closure, but I felt that closure was an unnecessary compromise here.
This is not an entertaining film, and in truth, I am surprised by its popularity among typical audiences. It is a serious film, and a work of art, but fun is not to be found here. DO NOT see this film if you dislike feeling emotionally drained and ethically challenged, and DO NOT see it if you are very prone to boredom, or easily offended by sexual violence, substance abuse and the horror of daily life on the street.
This is an intensely sad film about love shared by people who are caught in the gravity of their lives and can not escape. It is also a story of redemption and respect, found in improbable places. It is NOT a fun-filled frolicking romantic comedy, but rather, the opposite, and it achieves a beauty, dignity and power almost unique among films treating such starkly real and disturbing subjects.
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