User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 145 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 145
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  1. Aug 20, 2012
    10
    An audio-visual Masterpiece. It shows the devastating consequences of drug abuse mixed with brillant acting. This movie is greatly underrated and I guess some people voting it down don't understand it.
  2. Nov 6, 2010
    10
    Truly a masterpiece. I appreciate the extreme divisiveness of opinions about the film, but simply don't understand it. Faithful adaptation, and nearly perfect film.
  3. BrianW.
    Jul 5, 2004
    8
    The point to watching this movie is not to watch it on ones own terms. It is not a "film" in the sense of most film. It is something different, something out of control and visually assaulting. It destroys rationality and disturbs its viewers to the point where it is near-appalling. There is a story, but it is so addled that there need not even be one. This is why so many acclaimed movie The point to watching this movie is not to watch it on ones own terms. It is not a "film" in the sense of most film. It is something different, something out of control and visually assaulting. It destroys rationality and disturbs its viewers to the point where it is near-appalling. There is a story, but it is so addled that there need not even be one. This is why so many acclaimed movie reviewers describe it as "shapeless" or a narrative without "trajectory" -- in the world of linear (and even non-linear) stories, something this nonsensical is hard to swallow, let alone understand. It is perhaps the only movie that is purposefully confusing, in a way that evokes not only the futility and insanity of drug use but of the feeling of the 60s. What starts out as a lighthearted, funny adventure quickly degenerates into a sordid, disgusting affair. The images assault the viewer, leaving no time for breathing room; no scenes of sanity to grapple with the meaning of it all. It's like a Jackson Pollock painting on film spread over two hours. It's obstensively a disturbing film, yes, but without a internal morality as can found in such classics as Taxi Driver or A Clockwork Orange - small bits of intelligent prose bubble up like flashes of insight through the haze of this celluloid drug but none so pervasive as to try to tie the film together with a moral anchor. This, though, is what the movie is about. To find a moral center, to fix the narrative with a message, would perhaps make this movie much more accessable; but it would rob it of what primarily IS the central message, that drugs lead nobody to any kind of real central message. After first seeing the film Hunter Thompson, who wrote the novel, described it as not only a "masterpiece" but as an "eerie trumpet over a lost battlefield." This is, primarily, what it is. It is a movie that takes us through the 60s, as it progressed, through the eyes of the 60s and, in a parallel way, it takes us through the stages of a drug user through the eyes of one. What starts off with a roar - the engine of the cherry red convertable blasting along the parched backdrop of Nevada - and eases into a funny, wild-eyed drug movie slowly begins to go sour as time progresses. In much the same way the acid generation kicked off in the mid-sixties with a great deal of naivete and innocence, we see the effects of the drug but they are silly effects, simple distortions that are often hilarious - in other words, nothing to be taken seriously. After about twenty minutes though one gets the feeling that all is not well and although our narrator and his attorney seem so lost in the trip that the looming prospects of dissapointment and dissillusionment seem like vague spectres with no real backing we, the viewers, see it forming on the horizon like the dust cloud from the motorcycle race the narrator is covering. Slowly these spectres begin to mount, as the trip becomes more uncontrollable - just as it became in 1968 when the summer of love hit its high point. The confusion begins to set in at a horrible pace, and people scramble for the exits just as Raoul Duke does after his stint covering the Mint 400, only to be driven back the demons the drugs have created. The demons take the form of a terrified hitchhiker, an abused girl and other things that, early on in the trip, seemed like innocent fun. Finally, while the trip peaks it reaches a breaking point. For Duke there is only so much excess that can be exercised before it all comes crashing down, for America there was only so much acid. The final drug montage can be compared to the fatal Rolling Stones show in which a handful of men were stabbed. The beggining of the end. When it passes we are left sifting through the ashes, finally able to see clearly all the horrible things that have transpired - still clouded by the fog of drug. So yes the movie is heavy. Yes it is confused and yes it is hard to watch. It is also so like real life, so grounded in experience that were it appealing and light-hearted it would be all gloss and no substance. Instead it opts to take the road that will turn-off almost all viewers, who are content only to watch movies as they know movies, never willing to see one for what it is: An experience, a time out of time, much like the decade it mourns and celebrates. Luckily though, it is also a very funny movie. Johnny Depp is so deeply characterized (and it has been said so dead-on perfect) as Thompson (or Duke, if one prefers) that his mannuerisms transfix us. Benicio Del Toro is beyond vulgar, pushing the limits of outrageousness as he vomits, abuses and dopes his way to Vegas, to LA, and then back to Vegas. These are not pleasant people, they are not going to be redempted and they will not attempt to make sense of this strange trip. The behavior offends, but it also amuses. This is pure Gonzo journalism in the truest sense - a base account of the sights, sounds and sensory experiences of one of the wildest trips ever taken. There is method to the madness, the madness is simply laid on so thick that it must be peeled back in layers for the method to make itself clear. Gilliam is at top-form, proving once again to be an auter of the visual medium. Every scene in the film is so chock full of images, juxtapositions, strange behavior and background action that each time one watches the movie more becomes apparant. It is a visual assault, it attacks the viewer until one is on the verge of sensory overload and then it recedes with a whimper -- the force of the drugs themselves too much for even our brave narrator to handle. All in all, Fear and Loathing is quite an accomplished piece of art -- just very heavily misunderstood. Perhaps if people would simply let the movie surround them and take them over, without worrying about trying to fit it into a form or a standard, the intelligence and importance of it would be recognized. It is not a film for everyone, but for those who can do that it is a film far apart from any other ever made. Expand
  4. [Anonymous]
    Dec 6, 2004
    9
    Cleary a number of critics and other reviewers have never seen the world through hallucingenic eyes. The first time I watched this movie I had not either. I watched it up until the "lounge lizards" scene as a sophomore in high school, before I really knew anything about drugs. I had no opinion of drug use one way or the other, but the fact is if you've never tripped, this movie is Cleary a number of critics and other reviewers have never seen the world through hallucingenic eyes. The first time I watched this movie I had not either. I watched it up until the "lounge lizards" scene as a sophomore in high school, before I really knew anything about drugs. I had no opinion of drug use one way or the other, but the fact is if you've never tripped, this movie is not for you. I had to turn it off because it is disturbing and confusing--but so is tripping on mushrooms or acid. Once you've had that experience, you can focus more on the film's central message and ignore the puking, anti-social behavior and idiosyncratic compulsions of hallucinogenic drug use. Watching the film is a lot like a trip: it's not always funny, not always happy and it can be pretty scary at times, but if you put in enough mental effort to at least try and make some sense of it, you WILL be rewarded in the end. Depending on your openmindedness, your reward may be a valuable discovery of the world or yourself, or just another nightmare that haunts those who missed the point. I've not yet read the book, but I have it on my "on deck" shelf. Expand
  5. AsierR.
    Apr 5, 2004
    10
    Do they know what's all about? Marvellous and dark trip to the heart of an american dream.
  6. LukeH.
    Mar 1, 2008
    10
    This is a very good film the reviews do not do it justice. It is not a stoner film it is a unique, funny, provocative and disturbing view of America, and with Terry Gilliam unique directorial vision it's a powerhouse film.
  7. JoshL.
    Apr 6, 2008
    8
    An excellent movie IMHO, but I'm really not here to discuss this. I love this film and I really could not care less what some others have said about it. I would, however, like to point out the fact that whenever someone makes a spelling or grammatical error that supports the movie they are insulted by being called "druggies that can't tie their own shoelaces". Pity. And Mark B., An excellent movie IMHO, but I'm really not here to discuss this. I love this film and I really could not care less what some others have said about it. I would, however, like to point out the fact that whenever someone makes a spelling or grammatical error that supports the movie they are insulted by being called "druggies that can't tie their own shoelaces". Pity. And Mark B., I find it rather interesting that you caught marvellous, but failed to catch such atrocities as "congrajulations" and "unphathomable". Really, top notch work. Expand
  8. Buzz
    May 3, 2008
    10
    I love this movie. It's funny and provoking and I can imagine, it's just what Mr. Thompson had in mind when he was writing his novel.
  9. BigSally
    Mar 9, 2005
    7
    This movie is just so damn fun. Completely bizarre humour, consistently amusing dialouge, and killer visuals. Sure, the plot goes nowhere, the characters are one dimensional, but who cares when you can't stop laughing?
  10. benji
    Aug 16, 2005
    10
    Just brilliant, one of the best movies of all time!
  11. EMSullivan
    Aug 24, 2005
    8
    Unique, addictive movie that isn't quite for everyone. The first half shines with great performances and oddball humor. The second half doesn't quite have the same qualities and might leave people feeling rather uneasy, but it does have it's moments. Mark B. seems like the kind of person who would stand to argue that there's only one way to spell "color."
  12. GraemeS.
    Jun 26, 2007
    10
    An amazing film. Incredible acting, suitably psychedelic visuals and, surprisingly, hilarious and profound all at the same time.
  13. M_elleSchulz
    Aug 24, 2007
    9
    I am not a drug addict, in fact, at 35, I have never once partook in any unprescribed narcotic. I am not a fan of drunks, in fact I tend to leave parties early to avoid them. A huge fan of Depp (this is his best ever, if not most popular, performance) and of Hunter Thompson (an irrepressible writer of modern literature), I felt I was adeptly escorted into a world of excess and depravity I I am not a drug addict, in fact, at 35, I have never once partook in any unprescribed narcotic. I am not a fan of drunks, in fact I tend to leave parties early to avoid them. A huge fan of Depp (this is his best ever, if not most popular, performance) and of Hunter Thompson (an irrepressible writer of modern literature), I felt I was adeptly escorted into a world of excess and depravity I could never, in my sobriety, have entered on my own. Depp animates Thompson's paranoid and hilariously caustic commentary on the socially acceptable 'swine' and their equally, if acceptable, excesses. I bought the ticket, and LOVED the ride! Expand
  14. MichaelC.
    Mar 4, 2008
    10
    Hunter S Thompson's stunning book is marvelously captured on screen. A great performance by Johnny Depp. A great commentary on American life, past, present and future.
  15. ChrisJ.
    Jul 15, 2004
    10
    All i have to say about this movie is that it is genius by far my favourite movie in every way.
  16. Johno
    Dec 10, 2005
    7
    Could never match the book, what that would be be impossible. Terrys' baby is vastly under appreciated. (I'd better check my spellings now since a schoolteacher below believes that the only way have a valuable opinion is be able to spell. Whatever - weren't you at the police convention in Vegas in 1971?)
  17. MarkS.
    Dec 13, 2008
    10
    Pure quality, a perfect intimidation of the great doctor!
  18. Aug 19, 2010
    9
    Based off my favorite book, directed by one of my favorite directors, starring on of my favorite actors, what could go wrong? Very little! The film is incredibly faithful to the book and in my opinion one of the great underrated movies. Word of advice, if your planning on watching the film READ THE BOOK FIRST.
  19. Aug 27, 2010
    8
    A surprisingly accurate adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's odyssey of self-revelation, self-destruction and the American Dream. In fact, I'd say the movie is better than the book because Gilliam's visuals gives a sensory overload that really packs the in(s)anity into form. Thankfully, the hilarious antics of Depp and del Toro really follow suit.
  20. Jul 4, 2012
    8
    This film is EXTREMELY underrated on this metascore thing. But not surpirsing-people usually really like this movie or are incredibily irritated with it. Obviously the visuals take you by surprising which will add to your experience or make you ill. Additionally, the dialog is a bit disjointed. But the two elements together define this film. Definite cult classic.
  21. Jose
    May 17, 2006
    0
    Can I give it a negative score? The worst movie that I almost saw. The only movie that I've ever seen that I could not finish watching.
  22. Jun 7, 2012
    3
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a total mess. During the 95% of the movie, it uses all the most obvious ways to show hallucinations, trying to hide the lack of ideas and good screenplay. This is the worst Terry Gilliam's production - pointless, disgusting and incredibly stupid. And even Benicio del Toro is not able to help it.
  23. AnthonyS
    Aug 5, 2008
    0
    This movie is downright awful. You can sit down for two hours,which feels more like two years and wonder what the point of this is?There is no wit,no fresh views. Most stunning is that these characters should have been dead about two minutes into the film as the mix of alcohol and drugs surely would have killed them. Finally this movie is all hype.....yet is one of the worst films This movie is downright awful. You can sit down for two hours,which feels more like two years and wonder what the point of this is?There is no wit,no fresh views. Most stunning is that these characters should have been dead about two minutes into the film as the mix of alcohol and drugs surely would have killed them. Finally this movie is all hype.....yet is one of the worst films I've ever watched. Expand
  24. PatC.
    May 5, 2004
    3
    Initially quite interesting, but like drug use in general it becomes tedious and just kinda trails off into nowhere.
  25. GaborA.
    Oct 16, 2004
    1
    After years and years of trying. Movies after movies in the likes of 12 Monkeys and Brazil. Terry Gilliam finally does it. Top five worst movies of all time for fear and loathing. Congrajulations. And this one his his worst yet by far. How the man responsible for the Monty Python movies is responsible for this mind bogglingly terrible movie in a series of shit is unphathomable. This movie After years and years of trying. Movies after movies in the likes of 12 Monkeys and Brazil. Terry Gilliam finally does it. Top five worst movies of all time for fear and loathing. Congrajulations. And this one his his worst yet by far. How the man responsible for the Monty Python movies is responsible for this mind bogglingly terrible movie in a series of shit is unphathomable. This movie needs to come with a warning: Not to be enjoyed by anyone not actively ODing or capable of tying their shoes. Expand
  26. Cam
    Apr 27, 2005
    0
    Worst movie ever made.
  27. MarkB.
    Jun 21, 2005
    0
    The fact the someone who can't spell "marvelous" gave this a 10 epitomizes the kind of people who recommend this trash. If you like quality movies you will hate it; if you like to laugh more than once during a flick you will hate it.
  28. JonathanQuimby
    Oct 21, 2006
    0
    A classic to those who were to stoned to realize they were watching a movie. A favorite to teenagers who saw the twisted cover art and decided to stop there. Brought Thompson's work to a new generation of "fans" who spell genius with an O.
  29. Mar 26, 2012
    10
    One of my favorite crazy movies to watch. It's so entertaining and Johnny Depp does a great job capturing his role in this movie. This movie will always be one of my favorites.
  30. Santa
    Feb 3, 2010
    10
    Two genius: Thompson and Gilliam = Master-piece !!!
Metascore
41

Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 19
  2. Negative: 7 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: David Sterritt
    50
    Gilliam's visual style has never been more energetic or inventive, and nobody could be attracted to dope after this portrait of drug abuse as a hallucinatory quagmire.
  2. The movie is a true folly, yet there's no denying that Gilliam has gotten some of the hallucinogenic madness of Thompson's novel on screen.
  3. Reviewed by: Ron Wells
    100
    Does for psychedelics what "Boogie Nights" does for cocaine; displaying in graphical detail the ultimate failure of drugs as an escape route.