The big-screen version of Hunter S. Thompson's seminal psychedelic classic about his road trip across Western America as he and his large Samoan lawyer searched desperately for the "American dream"... they were helped in large part by the huge amount of drugs and alcohol kept in their convertible, The Red Shark. Written by
In a few shots taking place in the Chevy's interior, you can see the car has white vinyl door panels from a 1973 or 74 Impala (or Caprice convertible), while the main "Red Shark" is actually a 1971 Impala convertible. The Impala had slightly different door panels for 71/72 than the 73/74, but was essentially the same car overall. Apparently another car was fixed up for use in the movie as a backup or secondary vehicle and used for some shots from the inside. See more »
We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like:
I feel a bit lightheaded. Maybe you should drive.
Suddenly, there was a terrible roar all around us, and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, and a voice was screaming:
Holy Jesus. What are these goddamn animals?
[swatting the air]
Huh! Huh! Huh! Fucking pigs.
Did you ...
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The Ralph Steadman drawings from the book are put in with the credits, along with the Gonzo & Duke in the Red Shark picture that takes up the whole screen at the end. See more »
It's hard to describe how good this movie is without sounding sycophantic but it really is that good. This film is based on the "true" story of when the notorious reporter Hunter S. Thompson and his then attorney Oscar Zeta Acosta went to Las Vegas to cover a bike race for rolling stone magazine but instead spent the entire trip going out of their minds on various illegal and legal chemicals. This may sound like a one trick pony for stoners and 60's throwbacks but I am neither and I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Very few films based on books manage to tell the story or capture the spirit of the original but F&L certainly manages both. The story sticks closely enough to the book without alienating the books fan base but also trims out the right areas so that the film doesn't become overly long and uninteresting.
The film is still fairly long, compared with most popcorn fare, at around 2hrs and does sag a little in places but the pace quickly picks up again. The performances are absolutely spot on with Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro virtually becoming their characters. Both are heavily disguised under make-up but their acting ability shines through. On first viewing I wasn't that impressed, it was a good film but not a great film, but after a second viewing I fell in love with it. You notice things and pick up on gags the second time around that you missed the first time. You immerse yourself in their world so much that you feel like you were there with them on the "trip" in both senses of the word. I have shown this film to most of my friends and they also have become hooked after viewing the film twice, it's such a shame that this great film works like this as I'm sure there are many people who are unwilling to give it the second chance it deserves. If you haven't seen this film I suggest you do and if you don't like it see it again. If you have seen this film and didn't like it, see it again.
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