TMG Scale 7.0 P Factor 0.0 MPAA Rating: R
Starring Johnny Depp, Michael Rispoli, Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi
The Rum Diary is a more grown up and intellectual approach to the life and writing of Hunter S. Thompson. itis an alcohol induced bender into the struggle between journalism and corporate corruption in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the early 1960’s. While Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) was just a drug induced haze into a weekend of nothingness in Las Vegas. The styles are very similar. The substance is miles apart.
Depp plays the Thompson character named Kemp who takes an ill considered job as a writer for the failing newspaper run a guy named Lotterman (Jenkins). Lotterman gave up his journalistic ideals years ago just to survive and eek out a living in the cesspool of 1960’s San Juan. Kemp makes friends with a burnout writer named Moburg (Ribisi) and Sala, the news photographer (Rispoli). Kemp is then bribed to write good stories about an upcoming commercial resort being promoted by local kingpin developer named Sanderson (Eckhart). Does Kemp take the essy money and cash in on his limited morals and ethics, or expose the corruption?
It takes a long while to get there but along the way Kemp falls for Sanderson’s young well kept girlfriend named Chenault (Heard). This set up is almost identical to the way Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas) pulled in the young Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) and enticed him with Darien Taylor (Daryl Hannah) in the original Wall Street (1987). Kemp finally resolves to do the right thing despite always being drunk and hungover. But the point is? The real point probably died with Hunter Thompson…assuming there really was one.