The Rum Diary

A Journalist, Paul Kemp, arrives at the San Juan Star newspaper in Puerto Rico for a freelance job and finds himself thrown into confusion with the local culture as much as with what is happening at the newspaper itself.

Based upon the novel by Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary uses the beautiful scenery of Puerto Rico incredibly well, often not bothering with dialogue, instead the images and music tell the story. Starring in his second Hunter S. Thompson inspired movie, Johnny Depp plays Kemp, a journalist looking to make a mark for himself. In a time when the American Congress are investigating steroids in sports and piracy on the internet, it is a miracle that they haven’t begun an investigation into how Johnny Depp, at 49, looks as he did in his early 30s.

Almost stealing the show is the equally alcoholic staff photographer, Sala, played by Michael Rispoli. His performance is so enjoyable to watch that the movie could have been about him rather than Kemp. Aaron Eckhart plays a powerful American looking to take advantage of the islanders in search of money and Amber Heard plays his girlfriend, Chenault. In some scenes, Heard tends to look like a poor mans Scarlett Johansson, while in others, with her bright red lipstick and 60s makeup applied, she is a pleasure to view.

While the ending is more vague than complete, The Rum Diary is great fun to watch. There are some perfect lines include perhaps the greatest ever spoken on the silver screen. “Tell me, is it the clap?”, “The clap? It’s a standing ovation!”. Great characters, well shot, with brilliant dialogue, The Rum Diary is everything could want from a movie.

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One comment

  1. I’m a big fan of Hunter S Thompson, but I was feeling a little bit weary of this film since it has been shelved for almost a year now. I attended the world premiere of “The Rum Diary”, and I can report with absolute sincerity that if you loved HST’s work, this will not disappoint.

    The only problem many die hard fans of the book may have is with the character of Mr. Sanderson.. In the novel Paul Kemp and Sanderson represent the dueling persona’s of Hunter, one being a cutthroat athletic type, the other being the booze-hound anti-authoritarian. In this film, Johnny Depp plays more to the character being a young HST and combines the characteristics of both into Kemp. Some may have a problem with this, but the movie is stronger for it as you are only rooting for the protagonist while giving the story a strong antagonist, a necessity in filmmaking.

    For me, this is Bruce Robinson’s best work on screen for now, Johnny Depp is totally awe-inspiringly believable as a very young and constrained Hunter, and the cast could not have been more dead on.

    Denisse Mock