• Travel, Movie Reviews, And More Musings

Take a trip to Puerto Rico with Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary

November 2011

Finally, a movie that has it all. The sun, the surf and the acting. The story line isn’t so bad, either. Take an ambitious, and a hard-drinking writer who lands a job in a Puerto Rican newspaper flanked by a loud, and confrontational Lotterman, played by the marvellously frenetic Richard Jenkins. Add in a side plot where the writer meets a tantalizing blond whose boyfriend has a proposition that is both appealing, as well as dubious.

While the story line is serious, just about everything in the movie has some unexpected laughs and surprises that will make just about every viewer feel that they just had their money and their times’ worth.

Johnny Depp is delightful as the often-inebriated journalist Paul Kemp who is relegated to writing articles about horoscopes and bowling alleys before he is enticed to work for the handsome and outwardly successful businessman Sanderson, played by the amazing Aaron Eckhart, who tries to impress with his beachfront home and his comely tall blonde girlfriend, Chenault (Amber Heard) who just happens to also have an eye for Kemp.

There are a lot of more interesting and fun moments in this movie that offers bad guys chasing good buys, weird and memorable characters like a Hitler-worshipping alcoholic journalist, played brilliantly by a rumpled Giovanni Ribisi and a Rooster-betting photographer-friend who teaches Kemp, among other things  how to watch T.V for free.

Apart from the wonderful soundtrack which opens with the late and great crooner Dean Martin singing the tuneful “Volare”, the movie scores great points with its scenery: the alluring, tropical beauty of both Puerto Rico and St. Thomas.

It’s easy to lose yourself in this yarn made by the inimitable Hunter S. Thompson whose novels about drinking and journalism was made famous in the movie, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

But you don’t have to have previous expertise in Hunter’s works to appreciate the dark comedy inherent in the Rum Diary. It’s witty, brilliant and fast-paced and coupled with great ensemble acting, you couldn’t ask for anything more. And I’ll drink to that.


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