By Owen Gleiberman
Updated November 03, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST
  • Movie

Leaving Las Vegas (R) The hero, Ben Sanderson (Nicolas Cage), is a walking sponge who drinks from one morning to the next, at bars, restaurants, casinos, and at home. Early on, he drives to Vegas, where he announces that he plans to drink himself to death. What makes the film a weirdly haunting experience is that writer-director Mike Figgis dares to view Ben’s suicide by bender as a cracked form of redemption — a lost soul’s gutter bid for grace. Cage gives a madly inspired performance as a man spilling over the edges of his own sanity. Ben’s heart comes alive when he meets Sera (Elisabeth Shue), a troubled young prostitute. He’s too sozzled to have sex, but the two cling to each other like the life victims they are. Dark and giddy at the same time, Leaving Las Vegas takes us into dreamy, intoxicated places no movie about an alcoholic has gone before. A-

Leaving Las Vegas

  • Movie
  • R
  • Mike Figgis