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Should have had a wider release
I believe this would have had an Oscar nod, had it gotten a wider release. Frances McDormand- best actress, Amy Adams- best supporting actress. Best screenplay... etc, etc. Just a really fun movie to watch... in every way. And Frances makes it all possible. The costuming was perfect. The set design was above and beyond. The acting by all involved was luminous. The sound track was extremely well done for a 1939 period piece. The writer used history to their advantage for drama and tension.
And I will reiterate Frances McDormand's performance. She knows how to act with the slightest of facial movements and inflections in voice... she knows how her character feels and knows how to convey that feeling.
I hope many people get to see this film now that it's out on pay cable and DVD. It deserves a wide audience!
Like reading the book in two hours
In hindsight, the timeliness of this movie being done is uncanny. Hunter was still alive, Vegas still had parts of it that hadn't changed since the seventies. It's like the producers and Gilliam knew it was "now or never". I remember reading the book and thinking how would they ever make this into a movie? But Gilliam did it! And I don't think anyone else could have. He's the only guy out there with the correct acid hazed vision.
Every time I watch it, it takes me right back to where I was while reading the book...High School 1976.
The set designers had way too much fun... and that's why it all looks perfect.
The casting is, of course, perfect. It's like they read a page about a character, called the actor they wanted and presto! I'm not just talking about Depp and Del Toro... everyone! Busey as the Cop, Katherine Helmond as the Desk Clerk, etc, etc. The acting on everybody's part is spot on. Depp was superb, but he hung out with Hunter prior to shooting. Benecio del Toro really, really got Oscar Zeta Acosta! He was brilliant and possibly a bit overlooked. Depp was perfect, but so was del Toro.
I realize the movie is not really that close to the book, if it was, it would be an eight hour ride. There is no way to do it, and with that in mind, this is by far the best movie adaptation of a book ever done.