The Rum Diary
Starring Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart and Amber Heard
Directed by Bruce Robinson (Withnail & I)
Based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), The Rum Diary follows the adventures of an American journalist (Depp) who moves to Puerto Rico for a job but ends up clashing with both the locals and the Americans living on the island.
I’ll start this off by declaring that Hunter S. Thompson is an acquired taste that I haven’t acquired yet. While this movie wasn’t nearly as dismal an experience for me as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I still could not get into it. The characters are somewhat quirky as are the situations they find themselves in, and because of this I let out a laugh or two. But those laughs only brought on a mild amusement as I was more bewildered than entertained.
As for Depp and the rest of the talented cast, they did an admirable job with the source material so there is no fault there.
The problem as I see it is with the script. It’s one thing to have fun characters but if they don’t tell a compelling story then you get nowhere. There were elements of the film that reminded me of The Big Lebowski, but without a plot. Lots of fun to be had but once the drunk wears off there is no direction. Two hours of this turns out to be quite tedious.
And to make matters worse, there is no resolution. The journey isn’t over, but the movie is. It’s almost as if the filmmakers are telling the audience “you don’t have to leave but you can’t stay here.”
So if you are like me and place a heavy importance on the narrative, then you will probably want to avoid this meandering picture. On the other hand, if you just like to see Johnny Depp in another eclectic role doing strange stuff, this might be right up your alley. C