Film: Video Watch
Friday 28 May 1999
Hunter S Thompson's narcotic-fuelled road trip through America's heart of darkness never read like it would make the transition to the big screen easily, and so it proves with Terry Gilliam's attempt. He doggedly tries to inject a bit of structure into the misadventures of journalist Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and Dr Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro), but Duke's assignment - covering a desert motorbike race - takes a distant second place to the pair's real agenda: the consumption of as many drugs as possible. Gilliam obviously feels he's on home turf here, exhaustively (and exhaustingly) detailing Duke and Gonzo's ingestion and its consequences. In the rush, he takes his eye off the book's satirical edge. No matter how deranged, the book was very much a reaction to its time. The US nursing its Sixties hangover, Watergate on the horizon... all of which Gilliam ignores for early-Seventies kitsch. That's a pity.
Snake Eyes (18) to rent
Nic Cage is a charismatic, but corrupt, Atlantic City cop. When, at a big boxing match, the Secretary of Defence is assassinated, he uses every trick in the book to dig his old friend, Navy bodyguard Gary Sinise, out of a hole. A conspiracy is simmering away, though, and Cage isn't quite as mugged up as he thinks. Nor is director Brian De Palma, for that matter. After an admittedly kinetic opening reel, his penchant for hi-tech showboating - surveillance camera footage, panoramic overheads - just distracts from the plot's weaknesses. It's all so mechanical, too - if Atlantic City is supposed to be such a sleazy free-for-all, how come this film runs on rails?
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
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- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?
Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
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Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians