By Tiffany Batson |Staff Writer|
Fans that were expecting Johnny Depp’s “gonzo journalism” flair may be disappointed with The Rum Diary.
The film, as well as Depp’s reprisal role as a Hunter S. Thompson character, wasn’t as good or as entertaining as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Although the film has a slow pace and the run time is a little long, it still keeps your attention.
Thompson is an American journalist that is credited for the introduction of “gonzo journalism.” This is a style of journalism in which the journalist makes themselves a first person narration in their story, which is the basis for The Rum Diary and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
The film is based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Thompson that tells the story of Paul Kemp, a New York journalist that moves to San Juan, Puerto Rico and lands a job with a failing newspaper.
The pessimistic editor in chief of the newspaper, Lotterman, is apprehensive about Kemp’s efforts to save the paper.
Kemp runs into a number of predicaments and ends up contemplating a morality issue as a journalist. Kemp also meets the wealthy Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart), a snake in the real estate business.
Kemp unravels Sanderson’s plan to con the residents of the island and must decide whether to exploit the truth or keep the public in the dark to satisfy the needs of the rich.
The Rum Diary has a good, underlining plot, but it wasn’t dramatic enough. The characters were well developed and interesting but the film should have captured more of that storyline.
Most of the characters in the film are in a rum-drenched stupor and causing chaos everywhere they go, particularly Kemp’s friend Sala. In one scene, Kemp and Sala end up in car chase with locals that land them in a fire breathing encounter with the police.
The alcoholic character Moburg, played by Giovanni Ribisi, was a drunken mess the whole movie and made it very entertaining to watch.
The Caribbean atmosphere of the film provides a constant flow of rum, causing the characters to subside to a drinking problem. Their comedic antics were humorous and equally enjoyable.
The film even channels Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in a scene where Kemp and Sala hallucinate on drugs.
Johnny Depp’s charming charisma never disappoints on screen and the ensemble cast that includes Richard Jenkins, Amaury Nolasco and Amber Heard also perform well.
Although the film isn’t significantly great, it’s also not horrible either. The late 50’s era is represented well, and the Puerto Rican scenery made for a gorgeous backdrop to the film.
Although The Rum Diaryisn’t worth paying the extra money to see in a theatre, I would still recommend it as an average film to rent at home.