“The Rum Diary” is the co0lest movie of the year, by a longshot. Puerto Rico circa 1960, how amazing that must’ve been. Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp) is a reporter who’s had enough of the big city. His writing assignments will now be for the San Juan Star newspaper. The supporting cast is outstanding. The paper’s editor, Lotterman (Richard Jenkins) is a frantic mess. In the newsroom, Paul buddies up with another reporter Sala. (Michael Rispoli)
If two words could describe this chapter of Paul Kemp’s life, they’d be rum-soaked. Booze is everywhere. Moburg (Giovanni Ribisi) is yet another reporter who covers religion, witchcraft & loves playing his records. The downside of the records is they’re speeches of Adolf Hitler. Moburg’s got access to booze that’s over 400 proof. This isn’t alcohol abuse, it’s akin to drinking rocket fuel. And these boys do drink. Depp does hangovers like no other.
There is a ‘Rub’ a midst all the rum. Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart) sees the island of Puerto Rico not as a tropical paradise, but as the tropical paradise that’ll make him a billionaire. It’s all about the money. So when Sanderson needs to ‘buy off’ a reporter to ensure favorable copy, he seeks out Paul Kemp. The rich playboy Sanderson has everything, even the blonde bombshell pinup girl, Renault. (Amber Heard)
What I liked about the film is Johnny Depp’s return to quirky. Johnny actually found this novel gathering dust in Hunter S. Thompson’s office. After almost a decade of sailing, swords & sashaying ala Captain Jack Sparrow, Depp ventures off the beaten path to a place where few are willing to go.
The dialogue is wicked crisp. The jazz score is perfect. Along the way, you’ll encounter hostile natives, cock fights & alternate methods of transportation. My favorite: The motorbike with sidecars. Ultimately, Paul Kemp has to answer one question: Do I sell out, or do I bring down the bastards ‘with ink & rage!?!’
Johnny Depp developed & produced this film dedicating it to his late buddy & father figure, Hunter S. Thompson. What a perfectly psychedelic tribute. Now, someone pass me the rum.
“The Rum Diary” is Rated R.
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