Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Rum Diary DVD Review

Review By Patrick Challis

Written By Bruce Robinson Based on the Novel By Hunter S. Thompson
Directed By Bruce Robinson

A GK Films, Infinitum Nihil, Film Engine Film

Drama, Comedy


Johnny Depp as Kemp
Aaron Eckhart as Sanderson
Michael Rispoli as Sala
Amber Heard as Chenault
Richard Jenkins as Lotterman
Giovanni Ribisi as Moberg

Certificate 15


Based on the debut novel by Hunter S. Thompson which initiated his long, distinguished and brilliantly unpredictable career, The Rum Diary tells the increasingly unhinged story of itinerant journalist Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp).

Tiring of the noise and madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, Kemp travels to the pristine island of Puerto Rico to write for a local newspaper, The San Juan Star, run by downtrodden editor Lotterman (Richard Jenkins).

Adopting the rum-soaked life of the late 50's version of Hemmingway's lost generation, Paul soon becomes increasingly obsessed with Chenault (Amber Heard), the wildly attractive Connecticut-born fiancée of Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart), a businessman involved in shady property development deals.

Special Features
  • A Voice Made Of Ink & Rage: Inside The Rum Diary
  • The Rum Diary Back-Story
  • Trailer


After the absolute brilliance of 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas', I had massively high hopes for this other adaptation of another Hunter S. Thompson book.

Well, while it's not awful neither is it as memorable as the film I mentioned earlier yet I can't really place my finger on the exact reason why.

The writing is fast paced yet full of witty and interesting characters.  I would have loved  to have seen a little bit more of the setting and the rest of the journalism team because they all seemed to be a tight knit group yet some of the other characters just felt like they were there to make up the numbers.

However, despite that, there are some absolutely fantastic performances and in particular Johnny Depp and Giovanni Ribisi.  They positively steal the show from anyone else that is in the scene with them.  The only person in the cast that could stand up to their sometimes manic performances was Aaron Eckhart.  His quiet and subtle performance really comes across as the ying to Depp's yang.

One of the things that I think really hurt the movie the most is the simplistic direction.  The best way to describe it would be that the director seemed to only ever go for the simple option instead of adding a flourish or impact to the scenes.  That's a real shame because with a little bit more imagination, the movie could have been fantastic yet how it is, it ends up just being good for the most part.

All in all, while I was a little disappointed at the lack of style and impact of the movie, the good performances by Depp, Ribisi and Eckhart make this movie far better than it could have been.

If you are expecting another 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' then you will quite disappointed but it is still worth at least taking a look.

Movie 6/10
Picture 8/10
Sound 8/10
Special Features 5/10
Overall 27/40

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