For this paper I decided to choose the film by Terry Gilliam called “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. I picked this movie because I have never watched it before and because I have heard a lot about it from my friends. The fame of Johnny Depp these days makes all movies with him highly popular. Besides, never fading curiosity towards movies and TV shows that describe themes related to drug abuse and dependency makes “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” one of the most watched films.
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Right in the beginning of the film the narrator enumerates all the drugs that are going to be highlighted in the movie plot. They are grass, mescaline, acid, cocaine, diethyl ether and alcohol. It is also very noticeable that Johnny Depp’s character is never seen without a cigarette in his mouth. The drugs presented in “Fear and loathing in Las Vegas” are of various types, cigarettes and alcohol are legal, grass is legal only in some countries, and the rest of the drugs are illegal everywhere in the world.
The drugs shown in the film are psychoactive or psychotropic. They are chemicals that influence central nervous system and cause changes in behavior, cognition and perception. In the movie both main characters, Duke and Gonzo, often hallucinate and say ridiculous things that make no sense, their perception of the world around turns into a psychedelic fairytale with no logic or common sense.
The narrator of the movie mentions, that “there is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible than a man in the depths of an ether binge” (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). In the end of the movie the main characters simply end their trip to Vegas, and continue moving their own separate ways. The main idea of the film is showing what kind of mayhem starts in a human head when the brain gets under the influence of psychotropic drugs.
However, the use of drugs influences not only the two characters, who are abusing them; the impact from drugs spreads to other people. The hitchhiker Duke and Gonzo pick up on the way to Vegas runs away after hearing about their plans for the trip. Being under the influence of drugs Duke fires his photographer Lacerda.
Lucy from the plane is secretly fed LSD by Gonzo. The characters do not pay the huge hotel bills and they turn the nice looking suites into complete ruin. All of the drugs Duke and Gonzo take in the film are still a problem these days. People affected by psychotropic substances commit crimes of all kinds, destroy their own health and mentality, besides, black markets and illegal drug trafficking are big political, economical and social issues in most countries of the world.
My personal impression from “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is negative. After I have finished watching it I felt like I have spent one hundred and eighteen minutes of my life in a drunken head of a drug addict watching his hallucinations and observing his destructive lifestyle.
I think movies of this kind can be dangerous for the younger generations as drug abuse is shown as entertaining occupation filled with fun that can easily be obtained as a lifestyle without bringing any bad consequences. This movie has encouraged me to keep away from watching films involving scenes of drug abuse.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. (1998). No awards. Cast: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire, Ellen Barkin, Christina Ricci, Cameron Diaz.