"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," focuses on two character's wild, drug-addled pursuit of the American Dream. The movie is an adaptation by Terry Gilliam of Hunter S. Thompson's book by the same title. The book is a travelogue of a trip Thompson took to Las Vegas in 1971 as a journalist reporting on a motorcycle race in the Nevada desert. His companion, who in reality, is Oscar Zeta Acosta, his attorney, accompanies him to offer "legal advice " (F&L). Raoul Duke, played by Johnny Depp, is widely accepted as the alter ego of Hunter S. Thompson, and Dr. Gonzo, is the pseudonym for Acosta. The movie is subtitled A Savage Journey to The Heart of the American Dream, however when this movie was filmed, I do not think that Gilliam ever intended to show any of the characters actually attaining the American Dream. Rather he used Thompson's account of his trip to Las Vegas to show what has truly happened to this dream in the early 1970s. J. Hoberman who is a senior film critic for The Village Voice loved the way the movie depicted an era and American ideology. "Hunter S. Thompson's journalistic prose-poem Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas used a lost weekend in Las Vegas as a metaphor for America's season in hell. Thompson filed a postmortem on the 60s counterculture while reporting on his brain as though it were the dark side of the moon " [JH]. All the excess, exaggeration, and material accumulation detailed in the story is Thompson's way of mocking the American Dream itself because he realizes what has become of it. .
Vincent reviewed the movie on the Internet Movie Database and he felt that all the hysteria and exaggeration was to point out the "sickening excesses of a consumption based culture of America during the early 1970s, who's vacuous heart lives in Las Vegas, a symbol of greed and debauchery. The pointlessness of the movie is a metaphor for the pointless pursuit of personal gratification and greed, the true heart of the American Dream ".