Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review: LEAVING LAS VEGAS (1995): Mike Figgis, Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage, Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas, 1995

Leaving Las Vegas Blu-ray Review, a 1995 movie directed by Mike Figgis starring Nicolas Cage, Elisabeth Shue, Julian Sands, Richard Lewis, and Valeria Golino.

Release Date: May 10, 2011

Leaving Las Vegas Review

Self-destruction is epitomized in a stunning and emotional disturbing performance by Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. The brillance of the film is not only in Nicholas Cage’s tour de force in front of the camera but of plot points not included in the film: Why is Ben Sanderson (Nicholas Cage) drinking himself to death? Why is Sera (Elisabeth Shue) a prostitute? These are the most pertinent questions the viewer will pose after the film has ended.

Features of Nicholas Cage’s performance are analogous to those of Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s in Bennett Miller‘s Capote. Both actors transfix while summoning something from deep inside themselves. Whatever demon chased Ben Sanderson from his job and his family has long since encased him in its jaws and is devouring him inch by shaking, convulsive inch. Nicholas Cage captivates with his physical manifestations of the effects of prolonged alcohol abuse and gives his best acting performance to date, as did Philip Seymour Hoffman with his voice, mannerisms, and internal turmoil, both harnessing something the viewer did not know was present.

A similar loathsome being resides in Sera’s life. Sera strives to exist in her chosen, cantankerous lifestyle, the bowels of a courting succubus, but like an uncomfortable meal, the demon is never finished with Sera or her degradation. Sera tries to excrete herself from it through Ben and what he represents to her: an end to a life that resembles prolonged solitary confinement, an untenable circumstance for her to surmount.

Leaving Las Vegas Blu-ray Cover

Leaving Las Vegas Video

The aspect ratio for the film, widescreen 1.85:1, minimizes the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen but the film does not have that digital crispiness that newer films have on Blu-ray. “Leaving Las Vegas was filmed in super 16mm instead of 35 mm film which is most commonly used for mainstream film” so maybe that has something to do with it.

Leaving Las Vegas  Audio

The 25-song soundtrack sounded good and this version’s score is featured in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Mono, and French Dolby Surround.

Leaving Las Vegas Bonus Features

This version of Leaving Las Vegas is the uncut, unrated version of film containing more explicit footage, which may, in itself, be reason enough to pick this up (if you have never seen that footage). The runtime for the uncut version seems to amount to being one minute longer than the regular version.

The only extras for this edition of the film is the theatrical trailer.

There is also no menu screen. The menu shows while the film is playing (popping up when you press the menu button), which is brillant in my opinion. I’m being facetious if you didn’t notice. I know there isn’t a great gaggle of extras for the film but a title screen is still appropriate.

Final Thoughts

For most films, not all, but for some, like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I prefer to have the uncut versions of the film. The new footage for Leaving Las Vegas is more of the harsher variety except for a tender moment at the end of the film. It doesn’t alter the course of the film. This is probably the best version of this film to date (the previous version is on DVD from 2000), especially if you want to see the film as director Mike Figgis originally intended.

Buy the Leaving Las Vegas Blu-ray Buy Now

 

About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created ProMovieBlogger.com and Trending Awards.com.

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