Friday, October 28, 2011

Movie Review - The Rum Diary

(Can't got see Puss-n-Boots or In Time since hubby is at a cutover! So went to see this instead. (Hey, since I ask him not to see stuff I want to see when I'm at cons, I can only do the same for when he has to work, no?) :)

The Rum Diary






Starring: Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Head, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi, Amaury Molasco, Marshall Bell, Bill Smitrovich, Julian Holloway, and more.

Directed by: Bruce Robinson  Screenplay by: Bruce Robinson Based on the Novel by: Hunter S Thompson Original Music by: Christopher Young.

Premise: In 1960, Paul Kemp, a failed novelist/freelance reporter lies to get a job at an end of the line newspaper in Puerto Rico, The San Juan Star. On a path of self destruction, he inconveniently meets the woman of his dreams. But she belongs to another, a man interested in using Paul's fiction making skills to squeeze all the money he can from the tourist boon on the Emerald Isle, burying the natural beauty and the natives in his way while he's at it. (Rated R)

Review: I was interested in seeing this movie for two reasons - 1) Johnny Depp 2) Puerto Rico.  I got decent amounts of both.

Happily they actually filmed on location, so you see bits and pieces of the island (not enough!), but even better a lot of the sounds. (If you're in the country or mountains, the sounds of roosters are super common. And the coqui, a small frog indigenous to the island, has a very particular sound you'll get to hear.) CGI was used to turn back the clock here and there as open, untouched pieces of beach front property are rare in this day and age.  But the CGI was virtually seamless, which was totally awesome for setting up the past.

Strangely, though, you get extreme views of the people living on the island itself. The super rich and the super poor. The reporters themselves falling into the pretty poor category.  Of middle class life there was very little, if any, seen.  But I suppose it aligned things better for the points being made in the film. And places like the shanty town shown in the movie still exist today, like everywhere.

The acting was superb and there are several laugh out loud moments. Mr. Depp makes a great fish out of water, and he makes the slide into deeper destruction easy to believe. And he's not alone, befriending Sala and Moburg, two other journalists spiraling into darkness as greed and corruption deepen.

Yet it is in this darkness with little hope that Kemp finally finds himself and his voice. But all is not happily ever after as you'll see. Though the film ends on a bitter note, you're given an uplift by text to take the sting out. Not sure it quite worked as intended though. Or even enough.

Did love the LSD scene and a quote from it "You're high! (As in it was a bad thing) Have some rum!" (As in it would help - NOT). Better in context. lol.

To Boricua's and jouralists/authors this movie will resonate because of the subject matter and pieces of the journey. Though they did try to explain and throw in subliminally as much as they could about the time period and the island, not sure what regular audiences will get from it. But it is a nice piece of history not often covered, even if set in a fictional venue.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5