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The Rum Diary (2011)

The Rum Diary (2011) review

No “Story Behind…” this week as time really hasn’t allowed me to write a new one, but I do have a review:

Hunter S. Thompson was an interesting man, which was made clear by the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in which he goes on a drug filled journey and ends up in the most bizarre situations. If you’d like to know more about him I recommend watching the documentary Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter s.Thompson,which shows that what was shown in that movie was only a small part of a life filled with extremes. Knowing that The Rum Diary was also based on his work I was looking forward to seeing this, especially with Johnny Depp starring again.

The Rum Diary (2011)

Kemp (Depp) is a man moving to Puerto Rico to land a job as a journalist on the small island. The newspaper isn’t anything special, basically making sure that American tourists can read nice little fluffy stories about the happy things going on. Kemp, together with some of his colleagues end up in some of the politics played by other Americans on the island planning to make some changes.

Now if you go into this movie expecting more of the crazy stuff you saw in “Loathing” you will be very disappointed. First of all the movie is based on a book written by Thompson, but it is a fictional story and sadly that means it is a lot more boring compared to his real life. The movie shows a lot of talking with Depp ending up in some tense situations, but it never really gets exciting. It has a couple of funny moments, but in general it wasn’t as good as I expected. It did have some great performances though with Giovanni Ribisi’s Moberg being a standout one. He manages to make his character extremely weird (using a strange voice), but very believable. I was looking forward to the scenes he showed up in.

The Rum Diary (2011)

Overall The Rum Diary didn’t deliver the thrills or suspense necessary to keep you hooked. There is a lot of beautiful island imagery, some laughs and tense situations but in general it is not enough to make this a must see. Personally I’d rather rewatch “Loathing” or the Thompson documentary.

Score: 6

Category: Comedy, Drama, Movies, Romance
  • The Dandy Lion says:

    Interesting review! I’ve been meaning to watch this film simply to admire Johnny Depp’s acting prowess but I haven’t had much of an idea as to its actual content. It sounds vaguely interesting but perhaps I should try some of his other work given your opinion that this film is a little disappointing. Thanks for the review!

    February 23, 2012 at 9:59 am
    • Nostra says:

      If you haven’t seen Fear and Loathing I suggest watching that, but he’s done so many cool roles in his career. He will be one of the next actors to star in my friday “The Many Faces of…” posts so keep an eye out for that as people will always leave comments about their favorite movies from the actor that was selected.

      February 23, 2012 at 10:12 am
  • Scott Lawlor says:

    I felt the same as you Nostra. Close, but no cigar.

    I just didn’t care enough to enjoy the film as much as I wanted to.

    February 23, 2012 at 11:12 am
    • Nostra says:

      It really is a shame, really had high hope for this…

      February 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm
  • Amy says:

    I was really looking forward to this but it wasn’t on wide release here unfortunately. Not quite sure what I was expecting, I wasn’t expecting another Fear and Loathing though. It’s a shame it’s not as good as the first film, although I don’t quite feel so bad about missing it now

    February 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm
    • Nostra says:

      Of course it’s always good to form your own conclusions about a movie, but I don’t think you are missing out on much.

      February 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm
  • rtm says:

    Most of the reviews I’ve read have been negative, that’s why I’m not sure I even want to rent it. I’m not as huge of a Johnny Depp fan anyway. The reason I was curious about it was because my colleagues saw them filming in Costa Rica and it looked like a fun film at the time.

    February 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm
    • Nostra says:

      It has some little fun scenes, but overall the movie couldn’t keep me interested enough.

      February 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm
  • Eric says:

    I am looking forward to seeing this, but I kind of want to read the book first just to get the full effect. It sounds decent, but I don’t think any HST adaptation will be able to work like Fear and Loathing did.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm
    • Nostra says:

      I was planning to read the book in advance to, but never got around to it. Not planning to read it anymore though….

      February 28, 2012 at 11:04 pm
  • deerinthexenonarclights says:

    It’s funny, I felt exactly the same about the film’s individual elements as you did Nostra but for some reason I enjoyed the overall experience a little more. Still. O Fear and Loathing, but it did make me want to pick up the book and that’s something.

    February 24, 2012 at 12:18 am
    • Nostra says:

      It just shows how personal movie experiences can be!

      February 28, 2012 at 11:04 pm
  • Nic says:

    I enjoyed it, but your right it just didn’t really have the hook. I felt like they waited too long to really highlight the the tension on the island and by that point the movie was close to over.

    February 24, 2012 at 11:14 pm
    • Nostra says:

      True, they should have focussed on it way more. The newspaper stuff just didn’t seem that important….

      February 28, 2012 at 11:05 pm

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