The Rum Diary is an adaptation of a novel by Hunter S. Thompson, which was written in the 1960’s, but not actually published until 1998. It portrays Paul Kemp (Johny Depp) as a journalist from New York, who moves to Puerto Rico to work for The San Juan Star.
Although Johnny Depp is an accomplished actor, the film has been met with some rather unsavory reviews from several critics. Some of the complaints about the film have been that it is incoherent and cliche. But, Depp will keep you laughing throughout the movie. And, if you’re a fan of Thompson, seeing one of his novels in film will make you admire him all the more.
The movie begins with Kemp waking up and feeling groggy from heavy drinking the night before. Invigorated by a dose of aspirin, he heads into the office to write about tourism on the island. As he gets acquainted with the other people working at the paper, he meets a guy named Sanderson, who happens to have an alluring girlfriend with whom Kemp can’t help falling in lust.
Alcohol, drugs, jealousy, betrayal, and voodoo permeate the film, and while The Rum Diary is not generally appealing, it does try to offer a message about getting older, failing dreams, politics, and corruption.
Director Bruce Robinson winds down the film with a happy ending, as Kemp sails into the sunset. Though it is quite a difficult task, Robinson succeeds greatly in bringing Thomson’s novel to life.