Friday, July 26, 2013
Johnny Depp, who earlier played a Hunter Thompson-like character in Fear and Loathing (1998) returns to portray a younger version of the gonzo journalist as a neophyte drunk, yet already crusading journalist, working for an on-the-skids newspaper (helmed by the manic Lotterman, played by character actor Richard Jenkins) in late-1950s Puerto Rico in The Rum Diary (2011), based upon one of Thompson's early novels. Journeyman actor Michael Rispoli does a good job as his news photographer sidekick and guide Sala, Giovani Ribisi plays a rum-addled Nazi sympathizer who introduces his roommates to LSD (I think), and the very lovely Amber Heard plays his love interest (and the squeeze of a corrupt land developer played by Aaron Eckhart). Although a financial disappointment (I have heard), it really wasn't a bad movie overall, if you don't mind going on a long nostalgic bender to the beautiful Caribbean isle, as the locals increasingly rise up against their racist American masters and despoilers (sufficiently Marxist for you?), and the protagonist uncovers and exposes a shady land deal. I wouldn't give the movie any major award, but I did find it entertaining.