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The Rum Diary portrays spectacular journey of love and corruption

By River Reporter Nov 12, 2011

By Niya Sinckler

The film, Rum Diary directed by Bruce Robinson  is a screenplay adaption of the autobiographical novel by legendary late author Hunter S. Thompson. When a reporter reaches a turning point in his life, he escapes to try and find himself in the Caribbean.

Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp), a hard drinking freelance journalist faces numerous challenges as he attempts to find his voice on his self-destructive path, while working for a local run-down newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1960.

After the New York madness of politics with the late Dwight Eisenhower era ending and the Richard Nixon campaign emerging in America, Kemp fits into this sunny and pristine island paradise. 

Along the way, Kemp befriends a photographer at the San Juan Star, Sala (Michael Rispoli), who accompanies him on his many adventures.  

Kemp also seduces Chenault (Amber Heard), a wildly attractive Connecticut born blonde who is the fiancée of Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart). Yet, Sanderson is an American real estate entrepreneur desperately determined to convert Puerto Rico into a capitalist hotel paradise.

Spending time on the impoverished island, Kemp is recruited by Sanderson to write about his plan. Over time, they develop a friendship that leads to Kemp realising the scheme of corruption and is faced with a decision which allows him to discover moral fiber. 

Absolutely nothing in this film is done in moderation, with the spectacular performances in the mix of genres including action/adventure, comedy, drama, romance and thriller.

The film works to highlight Thompson’s view of the world. Although, it was written well and contains elements of today’s journalism, there is too much of a lunatic atmosphere and craft of Hollywood glamour. Unlike the novel, the film takes a lot of time for plot development. Only at the end of the film can the audience recognize the inspiration for generations to be truth seekers with ink and rage.

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