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Rum Diary

The Rum Diary

3.2 4
Director: Bruce Robinson, Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli

Cast: Bruce Robinson, Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli


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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas star Johnny Depp returns to the wild world of Hunter S. Thompson in writer/director Bruce Robinson's adaptation of the Gonzo journalist's "lost" autobiographical novel of the same name. Dejected over life in New York


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas star Johnny Depp returns to the wild world of Hunter S. Thompson in writer/director Bruce Robinson's adaptation of the Gonzo journalist's "lost" autobiographical novel of the same name. Dejected over life in New York City and at bitter odds with the Eisenhower-era conventions of the 1950s, nomadic journalist Paul Kemp (Depp) flees to Puerto Rico, where he quickly lands a job as a reporter for a San Juan newspaper. Drawing inspiration from author Ernest Hemingway's popular theory about "The Lost Generation," the newly liberated journalist develops a taste for rum as he becomes slowly entangled in the lives of American beauty Chenault (Amber Heard) and her shady husband, Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart), a wealthy real-estate developer. Later, as Sanderson's underhanded business dealings begin to emerge, Kemp's principles come into focus, and his writing style begins to mature in ways he never dreamed possible.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
It's rare for a movie to have such great acting, writing, and visuals that it doesn't need a very good director to make it a solid film, but that's the case with The Rum Diary. Based on a semiautobiographical novel written by razor-sharp gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in 1961, the film follows an oft-inebriated writer named Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp) on an odyssey to 1950s Puerto Rico, where he's been hired by E.J. Lotterman (Richard Jenkins), the editor of a failing English-language newspaper, to write about casinos and bowling alleys for fat American tourists. Of course, Kemp is a stand-in for Thompson. He mumbles through hyper-articulate observations, stumbles drunkenly into and out of rooms with his awesome '50s hair falling in his face, and above all, he's too smart and too debauched for his own good. He parties like a maniac, soon teaming up in his antics with two of his newspaper cohorts, the straight-talking Bob Sala (Michael Rispoli) and the drug-addled Moburg (Giovanni Ribisi), the latter of whom is a burned-out, bleary-eyed intellectual who makes 470-proof liquor in his kitchen and collects Nazi paraphernalia -- not out of anti-Semitism, but out of nihilistic entertainment value, since he believes that all ethos are bullshit. And of course, golden-era Puerto Rico doesn't just have booze, it also has impossibly hot, sun-kissed women in Marilyn Monroe dresses, like the vivacious blonde vixen Chenault (Amber Heard), who lives just as fast and loose as Kemp does, but also happens to be the girlfriend of a real-estate magnate (a typically smarmy Aaron Eckhart) who's interested in recruiting Kemp for some illegal publicity to drum up support for his next hotel venture. Being tapped by the richest muckety-muck on the island to join the ranks of the haves draws Kemp's attention to the have-nots living in his tropical paradise -- locals whose grandfathers enjoyed the beaches as community property, until they were bought up by New York real-estate developers and made private. But this doesn't make Kemp sad; it makes him angry. Aside from a single moment in which he sees poor local kids picking through trash for food, there's really no tragic subtext to the class struggle portrayed in the film. On the contrary: Far from being a lofty, bleeding-heart liberal, Kemp becomes a mouthpiece for the no-holds-barred, uncensored, vitriolic commentary that Hunter S. Thompson was known for, referring to fat bankers in tailored linen suits as greasy, cheating bastards. And so, tangled up with forbidden women, nefarious businessmen, and clinically insane roommates, Kemp's island adventure plays out over the course of two hours. We already knew from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas that Johnny Depp is the best man on the planet to star in a Thompson adaptation, delivering the late author's trademark blend of cartoonish madness and incisive commentary in a distinctly offbeat voice. And thankfully, the rest of the cast are able to match his energy and commitment -- especially Ribisi, whose transformation into a nutball character actor is a blessing to us all. Sadly, director Bruce Robinson isn't able to match the actors or the material. Robinson seems completely unable to create any momentum with his staging, pacing, or editing, and whenever things get suspenseful or exciting, it's because Depp knows how to play the scene - often despite Robinson undermining any sense of drive or importance in the film with trite choices, weak editing, or bad musical selections. Additionally, the script, which Robinson himself adapted, is overly slack, often unnecessarily devoting precious minutes of screen time to sequences and dialog that slow down the film, while failing to add any connective tissue that would help the plot make sense (especially towards the climax) and give the audience an actual stake in the outcome. But even still, despite lamenting what the movie could have been, you can't help enjoying what it is: a high-style film with a refreshingly gritty take on the perks of drinking and class warfare.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

A voice made of ink and rage: Inside The Rum Diary; The Rum Diary back-story

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Johnny Depp Paul Kemp
Aaron Eckhart Sanderson
Michael Rispoli Sala
Amber Heard Chenault
Richard Jenkins Lotterman
Giovanni Ribisi Moburg
Amaury Nolasco Segurra
Marshall Bell Donovan
Bill Smitrovich Mr. Zimburger
Julian Holloway Wolsley
Bruno Irizarry Lazar
Enzo Cilenti Digby
Aaron Lustig Monk
Tisuby González Rosy
Natalia Rivera Chenault's Friend
Karen Austin Mrs. Zimburger
Julio Ramos Intruder
Rafa Alvarez Taxi Driver
Sasha Merced Café Girl
Eduardo Cortés Café Patron
Karimah Westbrook Papa Nebo
Guillermo Valedón Xanadu Maître d'
William Charlton Hotel Waiter
Javier Grajeda Judge
Miguel Angel Reyes El Monstruo's Trainer
Terrance Harlness Man in Hat
Andy Umberger Mr. Green
Armando Pérez Policeman
Bill Chott Bowling Champ
Gavin Houston Sailor
Lisa Robins Bowling Champ's wife
Noel Delgado Morell
Jaime "Jimmy" Navarro Hubert
Carlos Alberto López Union Leader
Jimmy Ortega Cop on Fire
José Coriano Drunk
Angel Nolasco Segurra's Daddy
Javier Ortiz-Cortés Union Leader 2
Jorge Antares Union Leader 3
Aurelio Lima Intruder Sidekick 1
Luis Gonzaga Intruder Sidekick 2
Randall Jacobs Hound Dog Taylor
Edgar Lebrón Landrau Bouncer
Eric Colón Cock Fight Announcer
Daniel Kalal Party Guest

Technical Credits
Bruce Robinson Director,Screenwriter
Colleen Atwood Costumes/Costume Designer
Denise Chamian Casting
Christi Dembrowski Producer
Johnny Depp Producer
A.J. Dix Executive Producer
Tim Headington Producer
Graham King Producer
Peter Kohn Asst. Director,Co-producer
Robert Kravis Executive Producer
Carol Littleton Editor
Patrick McCormick Executive Producer
Anthony Rhulen Producer
Chris Seagers Production Designer
Greg Shapiro Executive Producer
Bill Shively Executive Producer
George Tobia Executive Producer
Colin Vaines Executive Producer
Dariusz Wolski Cinematographer
Christopher Young Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Rum Diary
1. Chapter 1 [4:32]
2. Chapter 2 [7:53]
3. Chapter 3 [6:52]
4. Chapter 4 [5:14]
5. Chapter 5 [8:25]
6. Chapter 6 [7:36]
7. Chapter 7 [13:59]
8. Chapter 8 [5:24]
9. Chapter 9 [5:47]
10. Chapter 10 [8:42]
11. Chapter 11 [8:21]
12. Chapter 12 [5:27]
13. Chapter 13 [2:54]
14. Chapter 14 [2:29]
15. Chapter 15 [8:47]
16. Chapter 16 [7:56]


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The Rum Diary 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The novel was better!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This film had some good actors in it, but the overall plot line and direction of that plot line was not well put together. There was a lot of drug use and random acts through out the entire movie. I was confused most of the movie.