Alcoholic scriptwriter Ben (Cage) is blowing his options. Our first glimpse sees his beyond-niceties collaring of an agent friend in a smart restaurant to demand drink money, a symptomatic preamble to what's staring him in the face: a 'sadly, we have to let you go' dismissal from his studio job. Figgis sets the crap game running here: the pay-off finances a one-way ticket to oblivion or, to give hell its name, Las Vegas, city of permanent after-hours. Cash the cheque, burn the past, take the freeway - we're in the booze movie, that most fascinatingly flawed form of the modern urban tragedy. This modestly budget masterpiece pools the Vegas streets with reflected neon and watches Ben drown. Shue is good as the young hooker he falls for, but Cage is extraordinary, producing an Oscar-winning performance of edgy, utterly convincing suicidal auto-destruct. In fact, Figgis makes of him something of an existential saint, a man for whom terminal self-knowledge leads to a kind of grace. If the film lacks the depth and structural sophistication of, say, The Lost Weekend (it was shot fast, with Declan Quinn's saturated Super-16 photography blown up, which may explain its kinetic buzz), it certainly has the courage of its convictions.