By Cody Long, Staff Writer
“The Rum Diary” directed by Bruce Robinson and starring Johnny Depp, was the conception of the late, great, Hunter S. Thompson, which ended up being a strange tale of a young journalist entwined with trippy stupors.
The story follows Paul Kemp who takes on a freelance horoscope job at a Puerto Rican newspaper (In English). As he attempts to drink himself into happiness with his friend and roommate Sala, played by Michael Rospoli, he stumbles upon the largest scheme of control for the local area and it’s nearby islands (led by Sanderson, Aaron Eckhart’s character), and attempts to crack the true story.
Eventually “The Rum Diary” shows that Paul Kemp’s journey is meant to show the gaining of his niche in a world of self-destructive people, and reminiscent of Thompson’s own life.
Writer/Director Bruce Robinson was probably in his own niche with creating this movie; having directed movies mixed halfway in waves of dullness and intoxicated madness from watching his film called “Withnail & I.”
Depp also appeared in the film adaptation to Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, which was by far a movie more lost in the intoxication. If you know nothing about the story of “The Rum Diary” and think it will be close to the same effects, you are mistaken. This movie is more about the character’s journey for success.
Having worked on ‘Fear and Loathing,’ however, Johnny Depp knows how to play Thompson’s characters as appropriated by his writing. The scenery also looked just a gritty and sometimes dark and dirty as they would have been written in the book.
What I did not care for in this movie was the character interactions involving Moburg, the drunkest of them all, played by Giovanni Ribisi. As much as I love the actor, Moburg’s role in the movie seemed forced and unexplained. One moment he is this drunken mess and almost to frightening Depp’s character, and the next he is a mastermind and good friend, which I feel could have been better explained with a couple lines of dialogue or voiced over inner monologue.
This movie was also too long. For the amount of uninteresting scenes of witty banter, it just ran far too long.
This will probably be a favorite among fans of Hunter S. Thompson’s works, but I cannot agree with some of the direction choices made by Robinson.
The story was fun enough times to watch at least once through, and it does leave you wondering what will happen through the movie between Kemp and Sanderson, while keeping you entertained by the drunken adventures involving Kemp and Sala.