Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

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  •  (3 out of 5 stars)

Leaving Las Vegas is a deeply 90s independent movie! It's really an art house showcase for Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue to show off their acting skills. Cage's performance holds up well and was a lot funnier than anticipated. Shue's performance on the other hand doesn't hold up as well because she's not a very good dramatic actress when it comes to portraying realism which this movie calls for. As you probably know the premise, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter played by Nic Cage goes to Vegas to drink himself to death and along the way falls in love with a hooker played by Elisabeth Shue. The film meanders along with a ton of trumpet-based lounge music (scored by director Mike Figgis himself) and they get way too much mileage out of three jazz standards performed by Sting. Mike Figgis's direction is solid throughout as Vegas looks beautiful on the Super 16mm film that this movie was shot on. A must see for fans of Nic Cage and 90s independent cinema.

Leaving Las Vegas is a 1995 American drama film written and directed by Mike Figgis, and based on the semi-autobiographical 1990 novel of the same name by John O'Brien. Nicolas Cage stars as a suicidal alcoholic in Los Angeles who, having lost his family and been recently fired, has decided to move to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. He loads a supply of liquor and beer into his BMW and gets drunk as he drives from Los Angeles to Nevada. Once there, he develops a romantic relationship with a pretty, but hardened prostitute (Elisabeth Shue). O'Brien committed suicide after signing away the film rights to the novel.

Leaving Las Vegas was filmed in super 16mm instead of 35mm film; while 16mm was common for art house films at the time, 35mm is most commonly used for mainstream film. After limited release in the United States on October 27, 1995, Leaving Las Vegas was released nationwide on February 9, 1996, receiving strong praise from critics and audiences. Cage received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama and the Academy Award for Best Actor, while Shue was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama and the Academy Award for Best Actress. The film also received nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director.

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