Starring: Johnny Depp, Michael Rispoli, Giovanni Ribisi, Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins and Amaray Nolasco
Johnny Depp plays Paul Kemp, a hard-drinking journalist who takes the opportunity to move out to Puerto Rico in the 1960’s. Kemp takes a job at a struggling local newspaper but quickly becomes involved with his co-workers hard drinking island life ways, lead off the path he is persuaded by a millionaire Sanderson (Eckhart) to become the word smith for a brochure he needs developed for a new hotel he is building. Complications arise when Kemp finds himself lusting after Chenault (Amber Heard), Sanderson’s girlfriend and it quickly become apparent to Kemp that Sanderson is everything that he disagrees with and Kemp makes it his personal need to take down the “bastards”.
First off, have you read the book? Yes this movie is based on a book by Johnny Depp’s good friend Hunter S. Thompson, he initially wrote it back in the 60’s when he was out in Puerto Rico looking for work as a journalist, it’s kind of a diary of his time there from what I gather so far. Depp wanted to bring this movie to the big screen and for that he got on board not only as the lead actor playing his very good friend but also as producer too. I’ve never read the book and until doing research for this was unaware of who Hunter S. Thompson was, if you want to compare previous working then you could check out Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas another novel of his which was brought to the
big screen starring Depp and from what I’ve read its very similar.
The Rum Diary is one of those movies where nothing actually happens, everything that was achieved by Thompson happened following this story which is even alluded to during the end credits, “this is the end of one story, but the beginning of another”. In the two hours spent here you basically see Paul Kemp (Depp) and Sala (Rispoli) making their way
around various exotic locations in the Caribbean whilst drunk or high on drugs. I wouldn’t let that put you off though because the drunken and drug induced states do lead to some very funny moments in this movie which in my opinion can be enjoyed even without knowing the backing story of the book.
Giovanni Ribisi is amazing in this movie, a little eccentric, as he is most of the time but honestly everything I have seen this guy in lately I have really enjoyed, not just the movie but more importantly his performance in it. It’s hard to believe that Phoebe’s brother in
Friends has turned himself into such a house hold Hollywood A-lister but there are a couple of times throughout The Rum Diary where Ribisi doesn’t just match Depp in acting talent, he goes over and above owning the screen in his alcoholic, Nazi record propaganda listening state. Ribisi’s purpose in the movie is played to perfection, what’s the point in what they try to do as journalists? When at the end of the day greed and corruption wins over. Take the “bastards” down as Hunter S. Thompson said back in his
For those of you who love Johnny Depp movies then I’m sure you will love this movie too, I really liked it but what I would say is that if you are not into heavy dialogue between characters then Johnny’s rum swigging pirate character may suite more to your tastes. The Rum Diary is probably a movie which suits people who like to read books, I’m not
one of them but I enjoyed the dark humour and what the movie stands for. I can’t say that I was all that happy with the ending but at the end of the day I watched it, enjoyed it and if any one asks I can say, yeah I’ve seen that.
Would I watch it again?
I don’t think I would choose to watch this again if I had other “more exciting” options, but if there was nothing on and I just wanted something to give me a laugh then I could sit through this again, the two hour run time didn’t seem that long the first time around.