THE RUM DIARY,
Now showing State Cinema Depp raises a glass:
AS a proud fanboy and staunch friend of the late Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp continues his crusade to keep the influential work of the celebrated American ‘‘ gonzo’’ writer on the pedestal it deserves.
In The Rum Diary, a respectfully disrespectful adaptation of a lesser- known salvo from the Thompson canon, Depp ( pictured) plays Paul Kemp, a young newspaperman on a roundabout path to fame and fortune in the early 1960s.
Both a heavy drinker and a deep thinker, Kemp ( essentially an idealised version of the younger Hunter S.) finds plenty of reasons to do both once he lands on the US- run island of Puerto Rico.
Behind its cheesy facade as a tourist idyll, the Puerto Rico seen here is the exact kind of hotbed of hypocrisy in which Thompson would famously cool his heels throughout his career.
Though beautifully filmed and effectively acted, The Rum Diary does not have much of a story to tell.
If anything, it is a mood piece designed to get us inside Thompson’s head for a while. On this level, the film works quite well. The irrational world view of Thompson makes perfectly logical sense as it is represented here.
It is only when The Rum Diary absentmindedly mucks about with a sketchy lovers’ triangle involving Kemp, an icy femme fatale ( Amber Heard) and her rich boyfriend ( Aaron Eckhart) that proceedings get decidedly ordinary.