There are few things in acting as captivating and fascinating as Johnny Depp playing legendary journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Johnny Depp’s latest delve into the mind of the great writer is no different. Just to be clear this is not the same Hunter Thompson of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas fame. This is early morally right and still naive young Hunter but Hunter non the less.
Depp plays Paul Kemp in the adaptation of Thompson’s first novel, The Rum Diary. The story is one of young Kemp hired by a fledgling newspaper in Puerto Rico. Hired by the overly worked and over stressed editor played by the very underrated Richard Jenkins he is still of the mind of being a great journalist he soon moves in with fellow newspaper man Sala. Together they indulge into the local custom of rum and drinking. Being the newest man on the island and one view as a possible influential reporter, it’s not long until he meets the very successful yet crooked real estate mogul Mr. Sanderson. After getting involved in shady business Kemp decides to take a moral stand for the correct and right side.
The story is really the birth of Thompson as a writer and his gonzo style journalism that made him so famous. The story tells of his first experience with LSD and his heavy indulgence in alcohol. While Kemp is a fictional character there is every bit of Thompson in him.
Depp does a very well respected job of being that extremely toned down Thompson character that he pulled of so superbly in Fear And Loathing. His delivery and development into the gonzo is one to be admired. While the movie has it’s comedic moments it can’t be categorized as a comedy or any other genre for that matter. It’s part drama, part thriller while being all Thompson.
The fear with this movie is that people will be expecting a Fear and Loathing part 2. Let me stop you right here and say that’s not gonna happen. This film can and should stand on it’s own. It shows a time when the world still had innocence and integrity. Integrity is what Kemp keeps in the end and so did Hunter. He never danced around his thoughts, he gave it to us straight.
The movie is the perfect send off to Hunter and no one better than Depp to send him off as we see at the films conclusion with a dedication to Thompson.
Overall it’s a very fine film that takes you on a journey all be it a different one that gets a little sidetracked it’s non the less very worth the ride.