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 montage at the beginning of the film, (where Raoul and Dr Gonzo drive around collecting things for the trip), there is a glimpse of a bunch of people packing things onto a psychedelically-painted school-bus. This is most likely a reference to Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters, who also drove around in a psychedelically-painted school-bus. See more »
When Duke is talking to Dr. Gonzo from the phone-booth in the desert, a Dead Kennedys' DK logo is seen spray-painted on the door of the booth. The DK logo wasn't yet in existence in 1972. 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 credits literally scroll up the freeway. 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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