Friday, 11 November 2011

The Rum Diary Film Review

Today The Rum Diary is released in Uk cinemas, a long awaited return to the screen for both director Bruce Robinson and a novel by Hunter S Thompson.  Free to those that can afford it, very expensive to those that can't; I paid my eight quid to get into the early screening. Sat down in the freezing cold cinema with a bastard behind the eyes. 

I loved Robinson's earlier film 'Withnail and I,’ the true example of a great cult comedy. I must have spent every week for three years of university watching that film in someone’s dorm room; I can quote vast passages of it off by heart. I dreamed of a sequel or a film to come along with the same vibe and quotability. Upon hearing that Robinson was making this film I got excited, had my dreams come true?

This excitement grew when I found that Robinson had also worked on the screenplay, now I've got to answer the question. What's the script like? Well, it seems quite bland and sluggish. I hate myself for saying this as there are some good lines, but I do find myself trying to search them out more than them jumping out at me. Robinson has stated that his has only put two lines from Hunters original book in the film. 

Johnny Depp describes has character "Paul Kemp is basically a sliver of the personality of Hunter Thompson, this is sort of the early version of Hunter circa 1959-1960, before he found his voice, and found that avenue for all the anger, for the rage."

I found the role of Moburg (Ribisi) a reporter who drank so much 'the entire substructure of his brain destroyed by alcohol' a fascinating character and Depp is fantastic as a toned down version of Raoul Duke.  
The film is obviously a love letter to Hunter S Thompson from Depp, It is a story of redemption and tries to explain the manifesto of Gonzo journalism with a Hollywood sheen. As I had read the book a few years ago, seeing the film brought back waves of nostalgia and I can't help but feel that even if this film was a stinker I would love it. I don't think it's as good as 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,' however I think it is a good attempt at capturing the Gonzo spirit and why Hunter writes like himself.
Id suggest anyone looking to get into Hunter S Thompson to go and watch this film and even if you’re a veteran fan, have a drink and go watch it. ''Human beings are the only creatures on earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one''


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