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
During the scene when Duke first arrives at the dirt bike race, it is suppose to be dawn but you can tell from the lighting it certainly isn't. According to Terry Gilliam's commentary on the Criterion Collection DVD, they had the shot set up perfectly with the sun just rising, but when Johnny Depp tried to start the car it was dead. They figured out soon enough that the driver forgot to fill the tank. Due to budget and time constraints, the shot had to be redone later that day. See more »
When Duke is pulled over on the side with the patrolman (Gary Busey) and is outside of the car, you can see the radio microphone cable on the ground right behind Duke's car. 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 »
Quite wandering but very funny and very imaginative a perfect example of Terry Gilliam's work
The `unflimable' novel by Thompson is brought to the screen. Hunter S. Thompson gets a call to go to Las Vegas to cover a motorcross race. Using the advance money to purchase a load of drugs he sets out on a road trip with his crazed Samoan lawyer. However as their trip continues they encounter all manner of insanity and paranoia in their drug fuelled trip into the American dream
Never read the book, never been a big fan of this particular culture and ever felt inclined to read any of this sort of work however, really enjoyed the movie. The plot is, well, a trip rather than anything concrete or logical. There is a message tacked on somewhere near the end but really this is more of an experience than a story. To me the film mainly succeeded due to Terry Gilliam. His crazed sense of humour is fed through the whole piece, stopping it being indulgent or pretentious as it could easily have been.
Instead it manages to be a drug movie but also be very OTT and very. Gilliam's imagination really made Thompson's trips come to life. It must be hard to actually put something like that on film and I thought he did very well. This vision is well supported by a brilliantly pitched performance by Depp. He is on the very edge of ham with this one but gets it just right making Thompson funny and exaggerated. De Toro is as good but is very much playing second fiddle on this one. An all star list of cameos including Maguire, Barkin, Busey, Ricci, Harmon, Penn (of & Teller), Diaz and Lyle Lovett are all enjoyable and don't detract from the film in the way cameos sometimes can (`oh look it's etc').
The film may be very loose and aimless but what did you expect? Those wanting tightness of plot and a set narrative may be let down (though there is a car chase for the teens!). However this is well worth a look as it is a funny, very imaginative film that proved a lot of people wrong when they said that it could never be filmed. Certainly anyone who likes the films of Terry Gilliam will find much of his madness here to enjoy.
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