09/11/2011

The Rum Diary


Hunter S. Thompson said in a late-nineties interview that his novel took over 30 years to get published because it was roundly rejected and judging by this movie adaptation, it's easy to see why. Johnny Depp plays Paul Kemp, an American journalist who moves to Puerto Rico to escape the Eisenhower administration and joins a fledgling English-language newspaper. Against his editor's wishes (Richard Jenkins, once again lowering his standards) he starts living a booze-fuelled existence that involves living in squalor and obsessing over a young beauty (Amber Heard) in a relationship with a businessman (Aaron Eckhart). I'd like to tell you there's more to this two-hour borefest but alas, there isn't.

The source material is heavily autobiographical but all the fierce outrage at American corruption taking place on the island is watered down and the ending is more of a whimper then a bang. It all looks very nice (which isn't hard to do since it was filmed on location) and Depp's heart is in the right place but the fact that it seems to be entirely devoid of a story, characters, drama or, you know, anything that makes a film a film cannot be ignored. Depp is roundly criticised for his insistence on playing quirky characters under the helm of Tim Burton but perhaps he's better off there because when presented with a character with subtle nuances and sans silly hats, he looks rather lost.


Yeah, just like that. Still, Amber Heard is very pretty and Eckhart's magnificent chin is always worth a look but apart from that there's no reason to sit through this.