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The film Leaving Las Vegas received multiple Oscar nominations and provided a best-actor win for Nicholas Cage, who plays Ben Sanderson, the lead character. It is the story of a suicidal ex-screenwriter who decides to spend the last days of his life drinking himself to death. Sadly, John O' Brien, the individual who wrote the novel on which the film is based, killed himself before the film arrived to critical acclaim.

The story begins with Ben Sanderson being fired from a lucrative job as a screenwriter, mostly for his rampant alcoholism. His wife has left him, and he decides he has nothing to live for. He moves to a run-down hotel in Las Vegas with suitcases full of liquor. On the way there, he nearly runs over a prostitute named Sera, played by Oscar-nominated actress Elisabeth Shue. They meet back at his hotel room and develop a rapport. The one thing he asks of her is that she never tells him to stop drinking.

The film centers on these two actors and rarely shows other characters. There are some cameos, including musician Lou Rawls as a sympathetic cab driver. Director Mark Figgis is shown at a gas station. There is a Russian Mafia side-plot with Yuri (Julian Sands), who plays Sera's pimp.

Leaving Las Vegas is mostly a film about dialogue and emotions. It depicts Sera trying her best to help and care for the self-destructive Ben as he becomes more physically and mentally sick. The film is also noted for its blues theme sung by musician Sting.

Leaving Las Vegas does have its moments of sporadic humor, but it is mostly a drama. It is rated R for language and adult themes, and includes violence including an intense rape scene.

| 1995 | 1 hr 52 min | 7.5/10 | 82/100
Nicolas Cage, Elisabeth Shue, Julian Sands, Richard Lewis
Mike Figgis
Produced By
Lila Cazs, Annie Stewart

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