Producer(s): Christie Dembrowski, Johnny Depp, & Patrick McCormick
Writer(s): Bruce Robinson, and Hunter S Thompson (novel)
Actors: Johnny Depp, Giovanni Ribisi, Aaron Eckhart
Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski
Music: Christopher Young
Editing: Carol Littleton
Back for another Hunter S. Thompson movie, Johnny Depp plays John Kemp, a journalist with a bit of an alcohol problem. He flies down to Puerto Rico to write for a failing newspaper with a lousy editor. He gets assigned to the horoscopes section, which leaves a lot of time for trouble. Kemp rooms with a fellow writer who has a high proclivity for the drink as well. Together they find themselves very drunk and encountering some strange activity. From chicken fights, to adultery this movie has it all and will have you on the floor laughing.
As a huge Johnny Depp fan I was itching to see this flick ever since it hit DVD, but I was worried this Hunter S. Thompson adaptation wouldn’t live up to the standards set by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Never one to disappoint, Depp brought us another wonderful side of the very eccentric works of the late Thompson. With a cast just as colorful as the man who wrote it, Bruce Robinson gathered the perfect mix of classy and trashy. The juxtaposition of how clean cut and high class Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart) is on the outside, compared to Sala (Michael Rispoli) who is dirty and tends to hang with a slummier crowd, is just brilliant. And let’s just talk about Amber Heard, what a gorgeous peach she is. She brought a delightful feminine spice to the otherwise very male dominated cast, and she throws just enough of a stitch in the plan. This bombshell will be seen again in Syrup, which is set to come out later this year. Also, Colleen Atwood was the lead costume designer, having seen her work so much this summer I could almost tell it was her before double checking. She has a very wonderful sense of fashion history, which allows her to create such spot-on wardrobes that truly convince you that these are real people wearing their own clothes.
Music and Script
Matching their beautiful surroundings, the score includes spanish undertones with the definite notes of the 1950s. I was swaying along at times and bobbing my head at others; the music was perfectly balanced with the script, strong enough to be noticed, but not overpowering the actors. The lines in the script were very important, as they were based off a novel and couldn’t be changed much from the original without losing its authenticity. Robinson, who once again created a great representation of Thompson and his work, wrote this screenplay with the help of a lot of booze. As a reformed alcoholic, the only way he could finish this script was to drink, and for 10 months he did. Then as soon as he was finished he quit again. That’s dedication to the art, and for this sort of film, that’s exactly what was needed.
It’s hard to go wrong with Hunter S. Thompson, I’ve never read anything by him I didn’t like. Even his personal interviews are more interesting than some novels, I won’t mention any specifically *cough The Notebook cough*. With that being said, most of his novels are slightly biographical. The Rum Diary is no different, but while this one contains much less drug use than that of Fear and Loathing, it is still just as comedic and entertaining, not lacking any brainless hijinks thanks to the very high amounts of rum they intake. This flick has great timing, and so much tension you won’t help but to be drawn into their world.
Now, I won’t ruin anything for you, because I strongly urge you to watch this movie. But I’m going to tell you this: don’t expect the best conclusion or you will be very let down. The movie is great, until the very last five minutes where they wrapped everything up in that time and left you with a synopsis in text. It was like they spent all their time on making the first part of the movie so epic that they kind of faltered at the finish line.
Overall: 4 stars out of 5
Buy It, Rent It, Skip It:
I would suggest renting this movie first, as most of my friends were severely disappointed with the ending and allowed that to ruin the whole movie for them. I will add this to my collection, absolutely. I’m excited to see the special features that are included, which include some backstory of the real Rum Diary, and hopefully has some information on Thompson.
‘The Rum Diary’ Movie Trailer