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
According to Terry Gilliam's commentary on the Criterion Collection DVD, at the beginning of the movie when they stop on the side of the road after Duke starts seeing bats and wants Gonzo to drive, you can see a strange looking cactus in the background. It was designed by Ralph Steadman and appears many times in the background of the movie in various scenes. Gilliam complained of having to lug it around wherever they went. See more »
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 »
Visual masterpiece with Thompson's message intact and strong as ever.
I have read countless reviews of this movie that have derided it for everything from glorifying drugs to being unchristian to being boring. Maybe my mind works very much like director Terry Gilliam's (I loved 'Brazil' and '12 Monkeys'), but the last thing I would do to this movie is deride it. It is a brilliant adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's generation-defining book of the same name - it stays very faithful to the events in the book.
First of all, this movie literally glows with Gilliam's eye for detail that he has consistently displayed throughout his career. The sets are so elaborate, one could never take in all the scenery from any number of viewings without slowing it down and watching very closely. The bombardment of the bright, flashing lights of Las Vegas and the bizarre camera angles, as well as surreal sets make for an interesting and entertaining presentation regardless of a lack of coherency and taste. What we have here is a movie riddled with black humor and a horrifying satire of the American dream. I'll admit it takes a very `unchristian' viewpoint to laugh at the `straight economics' of allowing policemen to gang-f**k a girl for $30 a head. Therefore, people bound by a constricting sense of morality should never have watched this movie in the first place. It is for people like me who enjoy living a very un-stoic life (at least vicariously through movies) by having radical ideas and perspectives forced upon them. Fear and Loathing is the embodiment of such a perspective - it is a gruesomely accurate depiction of the bi-product of the often-glorified 60's drug culture. And one thing that countless critics seem to carelessly omit in their analyses is the constant references to the `American Dream.' Johnny Depp (Raoul Duke/Hunter Thompson), in his verbose verbal narrations, makes quite a few references to a desparate hunt for reason behind the madness of not only this `American Dream', but the drug culture as well - "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." - Dr. Johnson (displayed before the opening scene). The problem with the waning popularity of this movie is simply that its design was not meant to appeal to the buttoned-down mainstream. People that want to laugh and cry in a movie theater and then get the hell on aren't the type of people that would enjoy seeing an unjustified drug-induced frenzy on Las Vegas. This movie has everything a critic should be looking for in a masterpiece - magnificent cinematography, lovely acting, shock value, provocation of thought, and a meaning behind it all. To freaks like me it also has immense entertainment value as well. This work will be one of my favorite movies of all time.
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