The Rum Diary * Bruce Robinson (2011)

“The Rum Diary” is somewhat of a sequel to “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas” (1998). Again this is a book of Hunter S. Thompson put to film with Johhny Depp as the main (autobiographical) character. As Thomas Kemp, Thompson goes to Puerto Rico for a job at a local newspaper in decline. As the only applicant he is welcomed in the luxery of a hotel where he displays his drinking habbits that we know from Gilliam’s film. When his boss asks: “how can you drink 161 minis in 9 days?”, Kemps asks if they are not part of the price for the room. He finds new drinking buddies in the form of two colleagues who drink anything with alcohol. Having published nothing and wrenched in the straitjacket of the newspaper that does not want to disgruntle its white readers, Kemp still catches the attention of the ludicrously rich Sanderson who wants to employ his writing skills to play the autochtonous people of Puerto Rico. Tossed between his love for Sanderson’s girlfriend, his social heart, his disgust of the ways of the rich people, his loyalty to his new employer and new colleagues and his drinking habbits, Kemp makes the typical observations that we know from “Fear And Loathing…” and of course he mucks up every situation that he gets in. “The Rum Diary” is not as weird as “Fear And Loathing…”. There is only one hallucinetic drug scene, but the weird humour is there again and Depp is as wonderfull as he was 13 years earlier. Indeed, when you liked Gilliam’s Thompson film, you will probably also enjoy this new one.

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