A Beautiful Tragedy: Leaving Las Vegas

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Mike Figgis’ Leaving Las Vegas explores the tortured souls of our world, left with nothing but a burden to themselves that often radiates around them when indulged in their devilish addictions. They stumble upon together in the most unfortunate but beautiful of circumstances, a near-miss that stays in one’s mind, and when encountered once again it becomes a relationship that blossoms within them, a pairing that becomes as deep as their addictions; his a bottle by side, and her a man to care. Tragedies have placed them within these circumstances, and it is evident that underneath their acceptance is a layer of sorrow and regret, but life forces you to move forward and to make it bearable, they presently need each other by their side. Romantic and poetic but far from isolating and pretentious, it captures human nature at its most pitiful, living day to day for a silver lining that often doesn’t come. For him the outcome of death is the only logical path, and arguably the most rewarding one, left in a body weakened with tremors when too sober, an indicator that he is far from redemption. Their romance sparks brightly when they look into each other’s eyes, caressing one another with a nurturing and lustful passion, frequently with a sense of gratitude that eases one another’s soul. Performed admirably by the compelling Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue, holding the film on their shoulders and pouring great depth and meaning to the wayward lives of their roles. Soulful and tender, Leaving Las Vegas forces us to check out but we plead to stay, to be intoxicated and escape with a romantic euphoria, to hold on tight to these characters as their unfortunate fates rapidly reaches them.

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