Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rum Diary

Movie Name: The Rum Diary
Year of Release: 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Stars: Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi, Amaury Nolasco, Marshall Bell, Bill Smitrovich, Julian Holloway, Karen Austin
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

"The Rum Diary" is an adaptation of a Hunter S. Thompson novel, following another well known book of his that was also adapted to the screen, the infamous "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", directed by Terry Gilliam. This project has been a favorite of Johnny Depp, who was a close friend of the writer, and who plays a thinly veiled version of the author in the film. "The Rum Diary" follows the story of Paul Kemp, an American journalist who arrives in Puerto Rico. The newspaper that employs him is chaotic and soon Kemp finds himself immersed in a shady situation with a suspicious man named Sanderson and immersed in alcohol and other substances which don't help him navigate the murky waters of Puerto Rico. With the help of his friend Sala and the unreliable Moburg, Kemp tries to expose some of the truth lying beneath the cool waters and free-wheeling alcohol of Puerto Rico.
Bruce Robinson has made his name as an actor, writer and director, though his output has been few and not very consistent. Prior to "The Rum Diary", Bruce Robinson directed "Jennifer 8" and the well known "Whitnail and I" which made him a well known director. He manages to bring the story of "The Rum Diary" vividly to life, thanks to a good cast (though Amber Heard still has a lot to go). Though the film does not focus on uncharted territory (the eternal alcoholic who barely functions), Johnny Depp makes his Paul Kemp an adorable under-dog, who always finds himself in bad situations. The period the film takes place, 1960, allows it to bring back the feeling of paranoia that was felt (the Russians, the Communists). The film has great humorous moments and that alone makes it a worthwhile watch!