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, a strange looking cactus is in the background. It was designed by Ralph Steadman and appears many times in the background of various scenes. Gilliam complained of having to lug it around wherever they went. See more »
The California Highway Patrol officer says that the town of Baker, California is outside of his jurisdiction. Although CHP officers are assigned to a specific office, technically the entire state is his jurisdiction. 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 say ...
[...] See more »
The credits literally scroll up the freeway. 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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