#48 Leaving Las Vegas

#48 Leaving Las Vegas

Year: 1995
Director: Mike Figgis
MPAA Rating:
Epic Co-stars: Elisabeth Shue, Julian Sands, Richard Lewis, French Stewart, Roseanne's Sister, Detective Benson
Running Time: 111 mins
Cage Time: 85%
Cage Kills: 0
Cage Flip-outs: 1
James/Skyler's Review: 

Ben Sanderson (Nicolas Cage) sums up his situation pretty well when he says (to a prostitute who is robbing him) "Did my wife leave me because I started drinking or did I start drinking because my wife left me".  He's a severe alcoholic who has just lost his wife, his job, and any control over his life. So he decides to do what any sensible person in this situation would do; move back to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. 

"Kid in a candy store" dance. He got an Oscar for this.

Shortly after getting to town he meets Sera (Elisabeth Shue), a self proclaimed excellent prostitute who's recently found herself pimp-less with nothing to do.  Things progress.  They move in together.  Ben drinks.  Sera follows.  Things will merrily go on like this forever as long as one thing never happens; That Sera never asks Ben to quit drinking.  I wonder what'll happen...

If you are going to let your life go down the tubes, you might as well have pretty lady by your side.

This movie is made up of incredibly heavy subject matter and at times is hard to watch for even the most tasteless and crass viewers.  The hero and heroine manage to find some of the darkest corners of human existence and often bring you there with them.

This is some deep stuff. Alcoholism is usually depicted in a glamorous or funny way in Hollywood. The reality of it, is that it is hard to watch, and Dr. Cage makes it so. You can see why he got an Oscar for his work here. By the way, Nicolas Cage beat out Sean Penn that year for Best Actor. Take that, Sean Penn. You suck.

Ben behaves as if he wants to get busted to same him from his fate.

Overall, this is definitely one worth watching. Cage's performance is brilliant. He makes an alcoholic seem charming, and at the identical moment, pathetic. His co-actress makes prostitution seem like a legitimate career, if it weren't for some of the clientele, which makes it a hard, sad life. As this film is pure art, and serious art at that, I will finish this review with a poem:

Leaving Las Vegas
by A Year in the Cage
The oldest vice meets the oldest profession,
Racing toward death, the oldest depression.
Are these choices for life viable?
In society are these roles justifiable?
They are for a spell, but they end all in hell.

Movie quotability:
  • "Maybe I shouldn't breathe so much Terri. HIHI! "
  • "Did my wife leave me because I started drinking or did I start drinking because my wife left me"
  • "Somebody fix the phones around here."
  • "I'm wondering if you'll take two-hundred dollars to uuummm...  Fuck Me."
  • "Yeah, she definitely has daddy issues"  - Skyler
  • "Oh yes, I guess sooner or later we better fuck."
  • "Giving you money makes me want to come."
  • "Is drinking a way of killing yourself?"  "Or is killing myself a way of drinking?"
  • "I'm like a prickly pear.  A prickly pear."
Plot Holes:
  • A hooker who gets cut on the butt for punishment has no scars on her butt.
  • Self proclaimed amazing hooker falls in love with a drunk guy after spending about 10 minutes talking to him.
  • Hooker has a nice conservative dress to wear in the event that her pimp is murdered.

Exceeds Expectations
Exceeds Expectations
!Ironed in the CAGE!


Anonymous said...

A truly amazing performance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, this has everything you look for in Nic Cage.

Steve M said...

My understanding of the film making process is that you pay someone to make sure that the props and characters appear the same from one take to the next throughout the day or days of filming a given scene. The problem is they blew so much of the budget on the booze needed that they couldn't afford to hire a professional and wound up with some Joe Shmoe who spent most of their time in the prop room drinking down the booze so that they containers could then be filled with colored water.

Let's cover these holes separately shall we?
1) Just after the opening scene Cage walks into a restaurant with his tie loose and top button undone, but cut to the conversation at the table and he's done up properly.
2) When hooker goes to pee in the bathroom we initially see the toilet paper with the loose end slightly folder over on the roll, cut to just before she tears some off and 2-3 squares are now dangling down from the roll.
3) When cage moves out of the hotel he pours his extra Jose into a glass that is on the bed. When we first see the glass it is about half full, as he starts to pour the Jose in it starts out nearly empty but is about half full again when he finishes the pour. Moments later the glass is filled to the brim. And no, there was no time where he could have drank some out or poured more in.

Other holes without a specific scape goat:
1) Near the beginning when Cage is in the bar the camera is focused on the alcohol bottles in the background while the blurry faced bartender delivers his line.
2) All bottles of alcohol in the hotel room are neatly turned label side out. Only a sober engineer would carefully align his bottles.
3) In the opening scene Cage breezes past the Jose without getting any, but as soon as he gets to Vegas they're drinking it like he's got 2 or 3 bottles.
4) A drunk doesn't need a hip flask, it would be impossible to fill and always going empty.

Yay Cage, great job acting drunk for a few hours.

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