Leaving Las Vegas (Mike Figgis)

Rating: 3.5

I have a difficult time answering questions like "Who's your favorite 
actor?"; when pressed, however, I usually say that my favorite 
contemporary male actor is Nicolas Cage.  This answer often results in 
puzzled stares, if not derisive remarks, from the questioner, but I 
suspect that I'll encounter fewer dissenters now that LEAVING LAS VEGAS, 
featuring an absolutely towering performance by Cage as the most 
fatalistic alcoholic in cinema history, has been released--that is, if 
anybody actually goes to see this grim, depressing, terrific 
psychodrama.  Those will do will also be treated to superb work by 
Elisabeth Shue, whose understated and moving portrayal of the 
rather-too-symbolically-named Sera compensates for years of likably bland 
performances in movies like ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING and COCKTAIL.  
Figgis' direction is suitably languid and glamorous, even if his musical 
score is occasionally a bit oppressive.  An unexpected pleasure...sort of.