Friday, October 28, 2011

The Rum Diary Review

Greetings, Internet!  Last night I had the chance to check out Johnny Depp's latest film, The Rum Diary.  I would like to start off by saying that I am unfamiliar with the work of Hunter S. Thompson, nor have I seen any other films that are based upon his work.  That being said, I thought TRD was...interesting, with hints of brilliance and moments of pure hilarity, capped off by an unsatisfying finale.

The biggest props have to go to the two main leads: Depp and Michael Rispoli.  Two great actors putting in two great performances.  The likability and mystery of these two characters help to ground the film and allow the audience to get in their corner.  Depp's character, Kemp, is offered a job at an ailing newspaper in Puerto Rico in 1960.  The territory is portrayed as a mix of the wealthy minority and the poor majority.  Echoing today's political sentiments, the wealthy individuals (including the always-great Aaron Eckhart) are portrayed as money-grubbing profiteers looking to exploit the land for what they can, then move on.  Depp begins writing horoscopes and pieces on the booming bowling alley craze sweeping the area, but soon ends up in Eckhart's camp, tasked with spinning a commercial take-over of a nearby uninhabited island.  There's a lot going on in the film..and you have no idea what to expect next (one of my favorite aspects).

Puerto Rico is a mystery not only to most of us, but to Depp's Kemp as well.  We get to experience the exotic land through his eyes and witness the debauchery and partying lifestyles of the time.  One of the film's best scenes involves an unknown narcotic..dispensed through eye drops.  Its very memorable and quite funny.  The Rum Diary is probably one of the funniest films of the year, perhaps (un)intentionally.  Giovanni Ribisi is amazing as a Nazi-loving, always-drunk, ex-coworker and sometimes-roommate of Depp and Rispoli.  He steals the show with his drunken ramblings that lead to some memorable moments and quotes.

While I was, for the most part, entertained throughout, the film dragged quite a bit in the middle portion; not much was happening plot-wise and scenes seemed to languish for eternity.  Several times throughout the film I was tempted to check the time to see how much was left.  This two-hour film seemed much longer.  My other big complaint was the lack of a resolution(s).  Several story lines were built up throughout the film, with them all seemingly leading nowhere.  The film ends, in my opinion, abruptly with some pre-credit text explaining future events.  The events that were built up, specifically in the end of the second act, lead to absolutely nothing..and left me wanting more.  I understand that this film is most likely staying true to the source material, but I can't help but feel the anti-climactic nature of the final moments leave me wanting.

Despite my complaints I enjoyed The Rum Diary.  Seeing Johnny Depp without makeup, for once, was quite a treat.  If you are a fan of Depp, or enjoy pseudo-dramadies than I recommend you check it out.  If probably will be bored.

The Rum Diary was pretty good.

Bullet out.

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