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Review: The Rum Diary

Depp as the younger Hunter S. Thompson
By ANN LEWINSON  |  October 25, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

It's 1960 and Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp) is a young writer who has blundered his way into a job at the San Juan Star, an English-language newspaper on its last legs. Assigned to horoscopes and fleabag lodgings with a photographer (Michael Rispoli), his rooster, and a bedraggled weirdo (Giovanni Ribisi) who distills what he claims is 470 proof rum, Paul finds his writing voice on this island of bowling alleys, duty-free shops, and off-shore banks, thanks to the come-ons of a shady developer (Aaron Eckhart) and his first acid trip. It's neat seeing Depp, more than a decade after his balding Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, as the younger Hunter S. Thompson, softening mannerisms later made brittle with cocaine, even if the performance is all surface. Writer-director Bruce Robinson has rewritten Thompson's autobiographical novel in the inebriated-buddy image of his Withnail and I; his dialogue is wickedly quotable, his moral outrage unabashed.

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  Topics: Reviews , opinion, writing, English,  More more >
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