The Rum Diary

Director: Bruce Robinson
Year Released: 2011
Rating: 2.0

Irresponsible journalist Kemp (Johnny Depp) finds himself in Puerto Rico - writing for The San Juan Star - and gets tangled up with a shady land developer/capitalist (Aaron Eckhart) who has a blistering-hot gal-pal (Amber Heard). Based on Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's semiautobiographical first novel, it's considerably less crazy than Gilliam's rendition of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (which is probably the wise choice), but it's all local color (and xenophobia) and aggravatingly skimpy on the drama - Thompson's distinctive technique doesn't exactly lend itself to simple cinematic translation. Notable, I suppose, for Depp's unstoppable magnetism and charisma - his "Thompson" here is more restrained and melancholy than his "Thompson" in Fear and Loathing, despite being a 'younger version' of that character - and I suppose it was around Barstow when things just got so very weird for him.