Leaving Las Vegas - * * * 1/2*

Depressing love story. Nicolas Cage is Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic movie executive who has lost everything in his entire life and decides to go to Las Vegas where he can drink himself to death. There he meets up with Sera (Elizabeth Shue), a prostitute who takes him in. They both accept each other for who they are, and, at the start, expect nothing more. He needs her as someone to cling to, a last grab at humanity. She needs him as the only man who needs her for something other than sex. The two together are outcasts in love, falling together in a downward spiral toward oblivion. Not necessarily the most cheery subject, but it is riveting. Cage gives a truly powerful performance, capturing both the extreme highs and lows of the drunken Ben. Shue is nearly as good, and is in many ways, the heart of the film. The film isn’t terribly glamourous, but as a portrait of love, despair and redemption, it is very good. Don’t see it when you’re feeling suicidal, but try to see it.

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