Leaving Las Vegas is a doomed love story. Anyone who walks into it expecting any redemption is at folly. It has a pessimistic humor and Cage and Shue sizzle together, yet I warn you again, do not watch this movie cornering any sympathy or hope for the characters set to materialize on the screen. There is no salvation for them.
Leaving Las Vegas is about a screenplay writer named Ben who becomes an alcoholic following his divorce, and sells everything he has so as to move to Las Vegas and drink himself to his death. Here, he meets a prostitute named Sera and starts to hire her so that he can have company on his suicidal mission.
Ben and Sera share their loneliness together. There is a sense of emotional detachment so as to foster attachment. Ben here acts as a sort of an ’emotional prostitute’ to Sera. Throughout the movie, Sera is seen in sadist relationships and disturbing sexual experiences and Ben here acts as an antidote to her despondent existence as she acts in his.
Sera here fulfills the role of only a witness to Ben’s last days. He hires her so as to give a meaning to his otherwise meaningless existence and lets her witness his good side. He lets her partake in his existence so that he leaves a mark of sort, that he will at least live on through her memories.
Sera, on the other hand as I mentioned before, uses Ben as an emotional prostitute. Throughout the movie, one sees Sera as being an exceptional dominatrix, and this comes from her confession that she has an unparalleled intuition on her client’s fantasies and how to let them live through them through her. This renders her impuissant to explore her own emotional and sexual identity. She lives it through Ben, satisfying her very own needs. I don’t think there can be anything more despicable than terming these actions as selfish, for every human relationship emanates from these very emotional and physical needs she fights for.
Leaving Las Vegas is a disturbing movie, to say the very least. It captures two characters who love each other in the midst of all hate and spite circling them. It brought me to tears and I am sure the same emotions I felt while watching it will mimeograph themselves if you do so too. However, I am also pretty sure, I won’t ever be able to watch it again. It drains you emotionally like no movie does.
RATING : 8. 5 / 10
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