Leaving Las Vegas

Watch Leaving Las Vegas

"I Love You... The Way You Are."
  • R
  • 1995
  • 1 hr 52 min
  • 7.5  (133,291)
  • 82

Leaving Las Vegas is a poignant and unflinching drama directed by Mike Figgis and released in 1995. Starring Academy Award-winning actor Nicolas Cage in one of his most affecting performances, the film tells the story of a self-destructive alcoholic named Ben Sanderson, who travels to Las Vegas with the intention of drinking himself to death.

The film begins with a haunting shot of the empty desert landscape outside of Las Vegas, accompanied by a melancholy jazz score that sets the tone for the film. We then meet Ben, a former screenwriter from Los Angeles who has hit rock bottom. He has lost his job, his wife, and his young son due to his alcohol addiction, and has decided that the only way he can cope is to give up on life altogether. He packs his belongings, including a case of vodka, and heads to Las Vegas, the city of sin and excess, where he plans to drink himself to death in a matter of weeks.

Once in Las Vegas, Ben quickly finds himself surrounded by the excesses of the city. He spends his days drinking in seedy bars and casinos, and his nights in a cheap hotel room, where he alternates between binges and blackouts. Despite his self-destructive behavior, he retains a sense of humor and a defiant attitude towards his fate. His only rule is that he never drinks before 5 PM, as he wants to maintain some semblance of dignity.

Despite his best efforts to isolate himself and suffer alone, Ben encounters a kindred spirit in Sera, a prostitute played by Elisabeth Shue. Sera is drawn to Ben's quiet intensity and mysterious aura, and the two form a fragile bond. Although Sera initially tries to distance herself emotionally from Ben, the two soon become inseparable. They spend their days together, with Sera accompanying Ben on his drinking binges and helping him to get through his hangovers. They also share intimate moments of conversation, during which Ben opens up to Sera about his past and his reasons for wanting to die. Meanwhile, Sera struggles with her own demons and the knowledge that she is trapped in a life of prostitution.

As their relationship deepens, Ben and Sera find themselves facing the harsh realities of their situation. Ben knows that his time is running out, and that he is likely to die alone and in pain. Sera, on the other hand, knows that her love for Ben is futile and that she cannot save him from his addiction. However, both of them refuse to give up on each other, and they find moments of solace and connection amidst the chaos of their lives.

The cinematography of Leaving Las Vegas is stunning, capturing the neon-lit ambiance of the city in all its excess and artificiality. The soundtrack, which features a mix of jazz and rock music, helps to convey the sense of despair and longing that permeates the film. The performances by Cage and Shue are both raw and authentic, with Cage delivering a career-defining turn as the tortured Ben.

Leaving Las Vegas is a devastating and ultimately transcendent film. It is a meditation on the fleeting nature of life, the power of addiction, and the redemptive power of love in the face of despair. It is a film that rewards multiple viewings, as its richly drawn characters and uncompromising perspective continue to linger in the mind long after the credits roll.

Leaving Las Vegas is a 1995 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 52 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 82.

Leaving Las Vegas
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 52 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (133,291)
  • Metascore