From the offset, this erratic drug-induced journey where we ride shotgun to a journalist, Raoul Duke and his attorney, Dr. Gonzo become a binge session of a lifetime. The psychedelic story often left made me think, “What the hell am I watching?”, soon followed by “This is actually pretty funny!” Yet, we must ask ourselves, is the reason we are finding this funny is that it is so farfetched and strange, linked with our overdramatized expectation of obscene drug overuse and its effects coming to life or is it really a film with no aims or goal or determined ending?
Its certainly distinctive among other films of its stature such as “Dazed and Confused” (1993), Cheech and Chong Series, “Friday” (1995), and the Harold and Kumar series. This is beyond all that. With no regard or responsibility for many (most) laws or their own (or others) well being they recklessly plow through Vegas on the coattails of a story for Duke to publish, to discover it was all an excuse to bury themselves deeper and deeper into the pit of hallucination, bad trips, illness, paranoia, finishing on complete physical, mental and emotional destruction.
It could almost be a perfect portrait for how NOT to conduct yourself with substances.
The addition of specific characters layers the depravity of Raoul and Gonzo to new levels with situations involving taking advantage of a minor, Susie (Christina Ricci) plying her with drugs and drink then leaving her dazed and confused at another hotel… It’s as unpredictable as it could get, then pushes it to new heights again and again.
BUT…I was laughing most of the way through. Some parts seem to really drag, and others just seem to be something resembling a slapstick cartoon.
If you’re expecting a proper plot, and character definition, growth, and development, look elsewhere. If you want to see something depraved and unbelievable, you’ve already arrived. Buckle up.
The insanity of it all sways between the two of the poles of bizarre and downright insane constantly until the credits roll.