Fear and loathing

Essay by macadouses May 2005

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The story begins abruptly, out in the desert en route to the resort of Las Vegas. The author uses a tense hitchhiker as a mode, or an excuse, for a flashback that exposes the plot. An uncertain character picked up in the middle of the desert who Raoul Duke, the main character, feels the need to explain things to, to help him rest easy. They had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers. Also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw either, and two dozen amyls. They were on assignment from a fashionable sporting magazine in New York, to cover the 4th Annual "Mint 400" dirt bike and dune buggy race. A savage journey to the heart of the American dream.

The film was produced in the early in the summer in 1998 almost as a tribute to the re-release of the novel in June. Directed by Monty Python's Flying Circus animator Terry Gilliam, the film had a poor showing in the box office despite an impressive list of cameo appearances. The list featured Cameron Diaz, Cristina Ricci, Gary Busey, Lyle Lovett, Verne Troyer, Penn Jillette, Michael Jeter, and Flea (Red Hot Chilli Peppers). Contrary to other book-to-screen translations such as Jurassic Park, where the entire plot line was compromised, the film of Fear and Loathing does the book justice and, occasionally, reads straight from the novel itself. Starring Johnny Depp (as Duke) and Benico Del Toro (Dr. Gonzo, Duke's attorney and confidant), the film is an account of what the early seventies in the western United States were like.

The story is split into two...



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