This is a story of two desperate souls, one an alcoholic, the other a prostitute, who come together for companionship.
Ben Sanderson (NICOLAS CAGE), is a full-blown alcoholic who loses his job and decides to move to Las Vegas, sell all of his possessions and drink himself to death. There he meets Sera (ELISABETH SHUE), a prostitute who prides herself on knowing what each and every one of her tricks wants. From her he'd rather pay for companionship than sex. These two down and out people begin to bond and once Sera's pimp, Yuri (JULIAN SANDS) is out of the picture, Sera has Ben move in with her. Their conditions of the arrangement are that she can't ask him to stop drinking and he can't ask her to stop being a hooker. From then on, in their own strange way, they fall for each other, and then experience their last days together as he finally reaches his goal.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
No. Neither of the actors are big draws for kids and the subject and itís depressing quality wonít have them coming anywhere near this one.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong sexuality and language, violence and pervasive alcohol abuse.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
NICOLAS CAGE plays a full-blown alcoholic whoís given up on life and has gone to Vegas to die.
ELISABETH SHUE plays a prostitute, who although she falls for Ben, still performs tricks.
Although the performances are tremendous (for which Cage won an Oscar), the movie is an extreme downer and not very enjoyable to watch. Shot in a very low budget style, though, it is interesting to watch and you have to admire these actors for taking such non-glamorous roles. There isn't much of a plot other than watching them come together and then him drink himself to death, but this really is more of a character study then a plot driven film. We give it a 6 out of 10.
OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
Kids won't be attracted at all to this film, but if they do see it, they'll be exposed to the following. Heavy, all day, all night drinking (and for the film's part -- it doesn't glamorize the drinking), quite a bit of sex and sexual talk and a shockingly brutal gang rape scene. Obviously it's not a film for kids. But if your kids are old enough to handle the material, they will see the bad effects of drinking. As always, read through the category listings first.
Ben tells a woman he meets in a bar that he wants her to come home with him and says that heís really good in bed.
Ben goes to a strip joint where, in his drunken stupor, he sees a woman suggestively dancing and then sees her topless.
A prostitute sucks on Benís finger (as if sheís performing oral sex), and since heís so drunk and earlier said that his wife left him, she sucks his wedding band right off his finger.
Ben talks into a tape recorder while watching an attractive bank teller and says "...maybe if you drank bourbon with me it would help... If you smelled of bourbon as you f*cked me....If you poured it on your naked body and said drink this...If you spread your legs and had bourbon dripping from your breasts and p*ssy and said drink here, then I could fall in love with you. I'd lick you clean so that you could go and f*ck someone else."
Sera and another prostitute perform a lesbian sex scene for several men. They pull clothes off one another (but no complete nudity) and thereís lots of heavy breathing and hand groping.
Sera and Yuri have sex. Thereís no nudity, but there is lots of thrusting, movement, and groaning.
Sera recalls one trick of hers that started "pounding her really hard" (sexually, not punches) and then pushed her down and stuck his penis in her mouth and told her, "Stay there baby, Iím gonna come on your face."
After Ben has taken Sera back to his room for the first time and offered her lots of money she tells him, "For five hundred bucks you can f*ck my ass or come on my face." She then goes and unzips his pants and begins performing oral sex on him (his body blocks us from seeing the actual act and as the view cuts to another camera angle, her head blocks the action). She then asks him "...are you too drunk to come?"
Once Ben has moved into Seraís place, she tells him "...included with the rent here is a complimentary blow job." He responds, "Yes, I suppose we ougtta f*ck."
They decide to go gambling and he gives her his money for safekeeping. He tells her "Giving you money makes me want to come." She replies, "Then come."
After getting out a swimming pool, Sera walks over to Ben and lets bourbon drip down her body. She then straddles him on a chair and pours more bourbon down her front. She then lowers her bathing suit straps and exposes her breasts that he then sucks on.
Sera is seen nude in the shower (crouched down and bleeding from a rape -- see "Violence").
Sera gives Ben a "hand job" and once he says "...see how hard you made me?" she crawls on top of him and has sex. (No nudity, but some sexual movement).
Yuri slaps Sera several times for not bringing in enough "trick" money and finally hits her hard enough to knock her across the room. She then grabs a knife and threatens him for a moment, but then hands him the knife, bends over a table and pulls up her dress. Then there is a flashback where heís "disciplining" her and not wanting to damage her face, he takes a knife and slices her buttocks (but no blood is seen).
While playing blackjack Ben is refused a drink. He gets furious, curses, knocks away his glass and then overturns the table. The police come and take him away.
Ben talks to a woman at a bar who begins to flirt with him to make her boyfriend jealous. He comes over, pushes his girlfriend out of the way, and then after exchanging words with Ben, punches him in the face. Ben stands and has quite the bloody nose.
Ben trips over a pool side table and crashes down onto it, breaking its glass top.
Sera meets with several young men who want to have sex with her and to videotape the proceedings. When she learns that they want to have anal sex with her, she tries to leave. But they stop her and one of them punches her in the face. They then hold her down and anally rape her. Later sheís seen quite bruised and bloody.
While in the shower, and bleeding from the rape, there are flashbacks to the rape where one of the young men is seen violently punching her in the head.