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Leaving Las Vegas Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French Dolby 2.0 Surround, Spanish Dolby 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: MGM
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 3, 2011
  • List Price: $29.98

BestBuy.com:
Leaving Las Vegas - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle AC3

Purchase Leaving Las Vegas on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

Editor’s Note: Portions of this review not related to this release have been previously published as our Leaving Las Vegas [German Release] Blu-ray Review. All screen captures are taken from their respective releases.

The Film

[Rating:5/5]

Leaving Las Vegas is writer/director Mike Figgis’ bleak and doleful look at lost souls, alcoholism, and surprising love starring the worthy Oscar winner Nicolas Cage and Oscar nominee Elisabeth Shue. It is a dark look at the underbelly of the “Sin City” and that all-too-common tale of love between a man and a beautiful hooker.

Cage plays Ben Sanderson, a man who has hit rock bottom. He’s lost his family and his high paying job, either due to his drinking or he has started drinking because of it. He goes to Las Vegas to drink himself to death, literally. He stocks up on all the booze he can afford, clearing out his bank account, even borrowing money from one of his former colleagues to help fund his suicidal binge.

In Vegas, he meets Sera (Shue), the beautiful kindhearted prostitute and the two fall in love forming what must be one of the most self-destructive, dysfunctional and fast romances in the history of the screen. “We both know that I’m a drunk. And I know you are a hooker. I hope you understand that I am a person who is totally at ease with that. Which is not to say that I’m indifferent or I don’t care, I do. It simply means that I trust and accept your judgment.” He tells her. In a moment of despair, Sera says to Ben, “You go back to your hotel and I’ll go back to my glamorous life of being alone. The only thing I have to come home to is a bottle of mouthwash to get the taste of cum out of my mouth. I’m tired of being alone. That’s what I’m tired of.” That should give you an idea of the sort of relationship the two of them have.

They are two people, both lost, lonely and broken, searching for someone or something to help fill the void in their lives and in their souls. In each other they find the ideal companion, even though each is obviously flawed.  In Sera, Ben has found a beautiful woman who understands his need to drink himself to death and she won’t complain about his drunkenness or try to stop him and in Ben, Sera has found a man who accepts her profession and still wants to be with her, even if it is only going to be for a short while.

Both Cage and Shue turn in riveting and complex performances that are multi-layered. In the case of Cage, it may still be the best performance of his career, and for Shue it was an eye opener. Up until that point she was just the pretty girl in throwaway comedies like Back to the Future III or Adventures in Babysitting, but her sad, human, and dignified portrayal of Sera proved she had real acting chops that earned her a much-deserved Oscar nomination.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Leaving Las Vegas will most likely never look great, given that it was filmed on 16mm, but there are definitely differences in quality to different releases of this film. I previously reviewed the German Blu-ray release of Leaving Las Vegas which, apart from having its aspect ratio changed to 1.67:1. showed a lot more video noise and aliasing. This release from MGM looks just a tad bit softer, maybe due to an absence of edge enhancement, but it lacks the processing issues of the German release and looks more organically film-like. It does show some source damage here and there, but it’s surprisingly clean and detailed, given the film resolution and vintage of the film, especially with MGM’s recent track record taken into account.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack on this Blu-ray release is also a nice step up from the DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo mix on the German release from Kinowelt. Of course, the surround channels are just filled with ambience, but they are very audible and open the soundstage up nicely. The sound is dynamic with clean dialogue, smooth highs and extended lows.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

All you get is the theatrical trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24) of Leaving Las Vegas.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Mike Figgis’ Leaving Las Vegas drops viewers right into the middle of a gripping emotional love story that isn’t necessarily easy or uplifting, but it is full of wonderfully acted drama. It is made all the more poignant with the knowledge that the author of the original semi-autobiographical novel, John O’Brien, the film was based on committed suicide shortly after learning his book was to be made into a film.

The video quality on this MGM release of Leaving Las Vegas may not be perfect, but it is an improvement over previous Blu-ray editions.

Additional Screen Captures

BestBuy.com:
Leaving Las Vegas - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle AC3

Purchase Leaving Las Vegas on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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