The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review-Many reporters abuse many substances in The Rum Diary

By Joshua Knopp/managing editor

The Rum Diary is completely implausible — if it’d actually happened, the principal characters would have died of alcohol poisoning in the first few minutes.

The film, based on the chaotic novel by Hunter S. Thompson, is a fictional story of Paul Kemp’s (Johnny Depp) run with the San Juan Star in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In the story, the paper is on the verge of collapse. Its reporters are rarely able to do any legitimate journalism. After (and while) being blocked in his attempts at writing, Kemp spends most of his time drinking and getting into trouble.

The movie’s composition makes extracting fact from fiction about as easy as getting chocolate out of milk. Thompson was rejected by the Star in real life and worked for the local sports newspaper instead. He wrote the book based on what he could discern from friends who worked for the Star, which did not close in reality until the 2008 economic collapse.

The story is pretty much all fiction.

The main problem with The Rum Diary is expressed in the question “What story?” There’s a love interest (Amber Heard), a corrupt rich person (Aaron Eckhart) and a drinking buddy (Michael Rispoli), but they don’t really do anything. Rispoli drinks, Eckhart behaves in a generally corrupt fashion, Heard walks around being pretty and Depp reacts to them. That’s the gist of it.

What The Rum Diary lacks in intellectual stimulation, it makes up for in bizarre comedy. The film’s erratic nature lends itself to strange situations that sound like stories beginning with the phrase, “This one time, we were so messed up …” That’s actually the case most of the time, so it makes sense.

Calling it a stoner movie is a little limiting, especially when getting a contact high from just watching isn’t a stretch of the imagination.

Thompson’s fans will be satisfied, and it could reasonably be twisted into a parable about the evils of alcohol if there are any parents in the market for that sort of thing.

It’s difficult to predict who would or wouldn’t like this movie.

The Rum Diary is an odd bird. If you like it, you’ll probably love it, so it’s worth the price of admission to see whether it floats your boat.

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