Leaving Las Vegas
An untraditional love story
Anyone who has seen a recent Nicolas Cage film should watch this one. He gives his finest performance in Leaving Las Vegas and was handsomely rewarded with the Best Actor Oscar. Obviously, Cage has had his troubles in recent years, making many awful films and the occasional decent one. However, this film proves once and for all the he is a great talent who only needs to be more selective in his roles. His chemistry with Elisabeth Shue is electric and its hard to imagine anyone else playing Ben and Sera. Shue herself gives a career making performance as the archetypical "hooker with a heart of gold".
Overall, the film is a dark journey through the depths of addiction and love. Mike Figgis did a stunning job writing, directing, and scoring the film. With a shoestring budget he was able to craft a very effective film which shows the need for companionship and human contact. Perhaps the film's only weakness is we don't know why Ben is an alcoholic. But that is a quite minor defect in an outstanding film.