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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Leaving Las Vegas (Shock) (1995)

Leaving Las Vegas (Shock) (1995)

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Released 10-Apr-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
DVD Credits
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 107:22
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Mike Figgis

Shock Entertainment
Starring Nicolas Cage
Elisabeth Shue
Julian Sands
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $34.95 Music Mike Figgis

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    If you are looking for some light entertainment then Leaving Las Vegas in not for you. This is a dark, gritty tale of an alcoholic and the relationship that develops between him and a prostitute he meets in Las Vegas.

    Nicholas Cage plays Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic whose life is falling headlong into oblivion. After being fired from his job, he throws the trappings of his LA life in the garbage, and with little more than the clothes on his back and his severance cheque heads for Las Vegas. On arrival he has his first encounter with Sera, a local hooker, played by Elisabeth Shue, when he nearly runs her over. They meet again and Ben invites Sera back to his room, ostensibly for sex, but what he really wants is someone to talk to and some companionship. It is now that he tells Sera that he has come to Las Vegas to drink himself to death and thinks that it will take 3 to 4 weeks. Despite these circumstances, Sera finds that she is falling for Ben and goes looking for him the following night. Equally Ben feels a connection with her. Sera invites Ben to stay with her and he agrees on the basis that she can never ask him to stop drinking. Their relationship develops and then quickly falls apart when Ben, in a drunken stupor, is unfaithful to Sera causing her to kick him out. The lives of both characters spiral downhill until Sera receives a call from Ben, who has now nearly achieved his desire to kill himself. She goes to him and offers to help him but he refuses, leading to the inevitable conclusion.

    Both Nicholas Cage and Elisabeth Shue were nominated for Best Actor Oscars for their parts in this film, but only Nicholas Cage was successful with Elisabeth Shue losing out to Susan Sarandon. Similarly, Mike Figgis was nominated for Best Director and Best Writing but lost out to other nominees.

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Transfer Quality


    This transfer unfortunately lacks the benefit of 16x9 enhancement, which would have gone a long way towards improving the image sharpness. Some edge enhancement was noted but was not a big problem in this transfer. There is a brief digital tape dropout at 57:39. Whilst there is noticeable film grain apparent thoughout the transfer, this is not a distraction and adds to the overall gritty feel of the movie.

    The original aspect ratio of this movie was 1.85:1, but this transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    This is not what you would call a sharp transfer as the image generally has a slightly soft appearance. In addition, the occasional shot is noticeably out of focus, although this is probably true to the source material. Many scenes in the film have been shot at night or under low light conditions, which makes the lack of shadow detail extremely noticeable. No low level noise was noted.

    The colour is variable with some scenes being slightly washed out, whereas others look quite natural. In the low light scenes there is a noticeable red tint that is particularly obvious in the skin tones.

    Aliasing was quite rare in this transfer, with the only significant example occurring at 34:12 on the deck chairs as well as on some other hard edges. Film artefacts in the form of small white or black marks and hairs were noticeable throughout. Reel change markings are also present. No MPEG artefacts were noted.

    No subtitles are provided.

    This is a single layer disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    From an audio point of view the transfer was adequate for carrying the story but was otherwise undistinguished. Unfortunately, we have missed out on the much better Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track provided on the Region 1 version of the disc.

    A single English audio track is provided and it is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.

    The dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand. However, there were a few occasions where the quieter dialogue was slightly too muted. In these instances I found it necessary to replay the offending few seconds at a higher volume level in order to catch what was said.

    There are no audio sync problems evident on this disc.

    The jazz based music score was definitely the right choice for this movie and added just the right feel to the depressing subject matter.

    The surrounds were used, just not in any way that enhanced the sonic experience of this movie. The only thing that emanated from them was a repeat of the sound from the front channels at a much reduced level. For all intents and purposes you could leave the surrounds disconnected and miss nothing.

    The subwoofer is not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Several extras were provided however these were only of limited value.


    The menu is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio and is not 16x9 enhanced. Both audio and animation are provided.

Theatrical Trailer (2:01)

    This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

Biographies - Cast

    A very short synopsis of the careers of Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue.

Featurette (5:26)

    This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. This is really an extended trailer interspersed with some very brief comments from the director and the two lead actors and does give some insight into the nature of the characters.

DVD Credits

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    The inclusion of 16x9 enhancement and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio makes the Region 1 version a clear winner.


    Leaving Las Vegas is definitely not your typical movie, and there is no happy ending to be found here. If you are looking for superb acting and can stomach the subject matter, it is well worth viewing. If you are looking for some light entertainment then you had better look elsewhere.

    The video quality left lots of room for improvement.

    The audio quality is adequate.

    The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Thursday, December 13, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony VPL-WV10HT LCD Projector on to 100" (254 cm) 16:9 ratio Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-995
SpeakersFront L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300

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