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The Rum Diary

6/10
Comedy . Drama
 

Tired of the noise and madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, itinerant journalist Paul Kemp travels to the pristine island of Puerto Rico to write for a local San Juan newspaper run by the downtrodden editor Lotterman. Adopting the rum-soaked lifestyle of the late ‘50s version of Hemingway’s “The Lost Generation,” Paul soon becomes entangled with a very attractive American woman, Chenaults and her fiancée Sanderson, a businessman involved in shady property development deals.  It is within this world that Kemp ultimately discovers his true voice as a writer and integrity as a man.

 
Actors: Marshall Bell , Amaury Nolasco , Richard Jenkins , Giovanni Ribisi , Michael Rispoli , Aaron Eckhart , Amber Heard , Johnny Depp , Bill Smitrovich , Julian Holloway
Directors: Bruce Robinson
Country: USA
Release: 2011-10-28
More Info:
  • Steve Persall

    Thompson's fans will embrace its twisted verbal dexterity, romantically imagining the author feverishly pulling strings from the beyond.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Philip Wilding

    A fitting tribute to Hunter and the demise of the American Dream, but first and foremost a thrilling and funny snapshot of a country on its knees and a writer finding his feet.

    Empire Full Review
  • Joe Holleman

    Depp shows again that he truly understands Thompson by delivering a nuanced performance that is remarkably different, but subliminally similar, from the wonderfully outrageous turn he provided in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Jazzy and colorful, full of men and women in swell clothes driving cool cars, The Rum Diary has a bit of a seedily exotic Graham Greene vibe, and Robinson moves things along at a nice, casual clip, even in the film's more overheated moments.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Connie Ogle

    A big, rambling, entertaining love letter to the late Hunter S. Thompson.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    An agreeable time-waster for the onlookers and its star. The Rum Diary isn't a corrective to Johnny Depp's kid-centric career, more like a vacation from it, in a resort where the visitors are strange, the natives are restless and the flow of alcohol endless.

    Time Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    The Rum Diary is enjoyable enough, after its digressive, episodic and voyeuristic fashion. But neither Depp nor Robinson seems quite aware that Thompson's story - both in terms of his brief career in Puerto Rico and in terms of his life - was at least as much a story of tragedy and self-immolation as it was of genius.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • David Ehrlich

    The Rum Diary is so visually enchanting that many viewers may be too lost in a haze of charm to care that the film never develops Thompson's then-nascent wisdom any further than the young writer did in the novel itself.

    Boxoffice Magazine Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    You also get drinking. Lots and lots of drinking. By the time the movie is half over, you'll feel hungover.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    Temperance of a different sort, a willful abstention from trippy stylistic excess, is what makes this 1960-set Caribbean picaresque easily the most lucid screen adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's work, even if it's still several drafts shy of a fully developed yarn.

    Variety Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Depp is disappointingly recessive here, as he often is when he's playing characters who don't have an antic streak.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    "Fear And Loathing" star Johnny Depp more or less reprises his role as Thompson's alter ego, once again playing a journalist whose yen for excess obscures the idealism at his core. But the film, despite its obvious intelligence and flashes of wit, doesn't bring that passion across.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    The result is a subpar comic adventure that's nonetheless admirable for its restrained vision of Thompson in his early gestation period.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Essentially an affectionate and personal project to honour Thompson's memory, The Rum Diary occasionally strains to evoke the journalist's surreal black humour.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    Intermittently interesting, but well-intentioned, it almost makes up for "The Tourist."

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    The tale was no doubt meant to convey Kemp/Thompson's boozy aimlessness, but the film feels disjointed and meandering as a result.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    At best diverting, at worst drearily conventional, The Rum Diary is pre-gonzo Thompson, before the fusion of fact and trippy fantasy that flowered into a brilliant delirium.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    There isn't a sophisticated or "adult" perspective to be found in The Rum Diary.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    We have the feeling that Kemp/Thompson saw much of life through the bottom of a dirty glass and did not experience it with any precision. The film duplicates this sensation, not with much success.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Though it only rarely reaches the level of gonzo farce that it might have been, "Diary" is still an agreeably drunken stagger through the novel Thompson based on his formative year as a writer.

    Orlando Sentinel Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    Luckily, the cast is comfortable going with the flow. Ribisi is amusingly corrosive, while Jenkins and Rispoli are sweaty, cigar-chomping movie-journalist archetypes.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    A mild lark disguised as a wild bender, The Rum Diary is also a touching tribute to Thompson himself.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Betsy Sharkey

    In every move, Depp makes you believe this was a passion project for the actor, one he dedicates to Thompson.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • David Fear

    You can't deny the fun of seeing Depp retro-construct a muted version of his Vegas mugging like De Niro riffing on Brando's Don Corleone. (His reaction to swigging homemade rum is worth the price of admission alone.)

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    The legend of Thompson is immortal, though, and it'll fall to each generation to jam him into its own mold. Depp and Robinson's view is that Thompson was like a mullet: a party in the back but all business upfront.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    The weakest link here is Heard, who possesses the icy cool of Kim Novak but whose character never quite comes into fuller focus than as a hyper-sexualized object of desire.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    That the movie is leisurely and unconventional is all part of its charm, too - until it isn't anymore. The movie is a tale of corruption, but then it's not. It's a love story, but no, not quite. Later, it flirts with becoming a great journalism tale, or at least a whimsical journalism tale, but that vein leads nowhere, too. Nor is it much of anything else.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    The Rum Diary has been retroactively Hunter S. Thompson-ized. And not for the better.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    There are times when the story behind the making of a film is more interesting than the finished product. This is one of those occasions.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    Despite some scattered moments of bad craziness involving the hero and his drinking buddies (Michael Rispoli, Giovanni Ribisi), the spine of the story is no strange and terrible saga but a conventional morality tale.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    To the audience, this stuff seems like awfully old news. We're supposed to be witnessing the birth of a great journalist, but Hunter S. Thompson, as his career went on, got swallowed up by his mystique as an outlaw of excess. In The Rum Diary, that myth becomes an excuse for a movie to go slumming.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    Johnny Depp is dismally miscast as the alter ego of the rebellious author with the "screw you" attitude.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • J. Hoberman

    The Rum Diary could use a shot of the mania that fueled Terry Gilliam's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." As deadpan as he is, Depp could use a crazed Benicio Del Toro to complement his cool.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Andrew Schenker

    The Rum Diary, Bruce Robinson's amorphous hodgepodge of a film, wants to be many things: period recreation, social commentary, morality play, romance, an insider look at the newspaper game.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    The Rum Diary remains a relatively mild diversion, not at all unpleasant but neither compelling nor convulsive.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    What The Rum Diary lacks in narrative astonishment it almost makes up for in boozy charm. Depp, Ribisi, and Rispoli are a sight to behold.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    The Rum Diary has no mighty gonzo wind. Even with a push from its Thompson-worshipping star, Johnny Depp, it leaves our freak flag limp.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
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