Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was like a bad trip. You really don’t get much in terms of a coherent plot it’s just the progression of a drug trip set on a timeline. The first thing that strikes me is Benicio del Toro’s beer belly in the opening scene, rubbing his tummy lovingly as he chugs beer along with a mix of illicit drugs. Johnny Depp is Raul Duke, a fictionalized version of Hunter S Thompson (the writer of the novel which it is based upon), and Benicio is the “Samoan” lawyer who is really Mexican so far as anyone can tell.
Benicio does a fabulous job playing the hardcore druggie lawyer, a part he extensively researched and even gained 19 pounds for before filming. Menacing and unstable from drug-induced paranoia, the lawyer stumbles from trouble to trouble, wielding a jackknife whenever confronted with harsh reality. He has a couple choice scenes mixed with rage, fear, and uncertainty.
Depp mimics Hunter S Thompson quite well but the Depp’s narrative, based on passages from the book, is what really shines aside from Benicio’s acting. I suppose the best thing about the movie is that it made me want to read the novel because I know it would be better.