Johnny Depp arrives in Puerto Rico as a journalist. On one hand, he is lured by a greedy industrialist and on the other, he sympathises with the natives who are treated like second-class citizens. Read the review of The Rum Diary for more.
Business rating: 1/5 star
Star cast: Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi.
What’s Good: The actors’ performances; some witty dialogues.
What’s Bad: The story takes some time to develop; the unexplained change in Johnny Depp’s character; the unsatisfactory ending.
Verdict: The Rum Diary doesn’t stand much of a chance at the Indian box-office.
Loo break: None really.
Watch or Not?: Watch if you are a fan of Johnny Depp.
Dark & Stormy Entertainment, GK Films & Infinitum Nihil’s The Rum Diary is about a writer, Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp), who arrives in Puerto Rico as a journalist. It’s the 1950s and the Americans are more or less running a quasi-empire in Puerto Rico. Kemp finds himself working for a newspaper on the verge of shutting down but manages to get through his days with copious amounts of alcohol. He finds a good friend and roommate in his colleague and fellow-reporter, Sala (Michael Rispoli).
Kemp soon gets a job offer from Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart), one of the richest men on the island. Sanderson’s lavish lifestyle and his sexy girlfriend, Chenault (Amber Heard), bait Kemp and he soon agrees to work for him. He realises that Sanderson and his greedy, communist-hating, business friends plan to develop a small island into an expensive hotel retreat for Americans. This would mean pushing the locals further into their squalor and minting money for Sanderson and his friends while evading tax payments.
Kemp feels sorry for the locals but still joins the entourage to examine the development of the hotel. Once there, he tries to break away from Sanderson and friends to enjoy the carnival. But Chenault follows him, dragging Sanderson and party along. In an inebriated state, Chenault gets too cozy with one of the locals, angering Sanderson. When Sanderson tries to drag her away, the locals rough him up and he stomps away. Kemp and Sala try to pacify Sanderson, but end up getting locked out of the club.
The next day, Sanderson fires Kemp. Besides, Chenault is nowhere to be found. Bitter with rage, Kemp writes a scathing report about Sanderson’s plans and rushes to his editor, Lotterman’s office. But Lotterman pushes him away. Soon, the staff gets a notice that the newspaper is being shut down and the editor is nowhere to be found.
Will Kemp manage to get his report printed anyway? Will it affect Sanderson and his grand evil plans? What happens to Chenault? The rest of the film answers these questions.
The Rum Diary Review: Script Analysis
The Rum Diary is based on a book by journalist-writer Hunter S. Thompson. Bruce Robinson has written the screenplay and directed the movie quite well. However, the screenplay is slow in the beginning and one wonders where the movie is heading. Also, the sudden change in Kemp isn’t brought out well. One moment, he is eyeing Sanderson’s estate, and the other, he’s frowning over children living in broken-down cars and clicking their photographs. The ending is also quite unsatisfactory.
The Rum Diary Review: Performances & Direction
Johnny Depp is excellent as Kemp, the journalist who is either drunk to his wits’ end or nursing a head-splitting hangover. His expressions, dialogues and reactions are wonderful. Michael Rispoli is also good as the wise drink-buddy and colleague. Aaron Eckhart (Sanderson) and Richard Jenkins (editor Lotterman) perform ably. Amber Heard is fine as the curvaceous eye-candy. Giovanni Ribisi (Moburg) is the surprise package to look out for.
Bruce Robinson’s direction is good. Christopher Young’s music is very nice, with the exact peppiness at the right places. Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography is very good. Carol Littleton’s editing is okay.
The Rum Diary Review: The Last Word
On the whole, the movie is like a precursor to Depp’s Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. It’s a good watch for Johnny Depp fans. But, per se, it doesn’t have much for the audience.
The Rum Diary Trailer
The Rum Diary released in India on November 4, 2011.