The Rum Diary Blu-ray review

Starring: Johnny Depp, Giovanni Ribisi, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard
Director: Bruce Robinson
Writers: Bruce Robinson, Hunter S. Thompson
Producers: A.J. Dix, Anthony Rhulen, Christi Dembrowski, Colin Vaines, George Tobia Jr.
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Run Time: 120 minutes

            Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was only made into a film after a great deal of correspondence between actor Johnny Depp and the infamous intoxicated writer. Finally, the drug-induced Las Vegas trip was brought to the screen with the help of visionary director Terry Gilliam. Decades later, Johnny Depp is once again starring in the film adaptation of a Thompson book, though the writer has long since departed.

            The Rum Diary is an alcohol induced working vacation, with many absurdist similarities to Fear and Loathing. Depp stars as Paul Kemp, an unmotivated writer who has been sent to a thankless job in Puerto Rico. The position appears to be for a journalist, though they really just want a writer who will sell cheerful news to the vacationing Americans. On the other hand, Kemp is pursued by a shady businessman named Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart) to help use his talents with words to swindle the local people out of another pristine beach. This deal only seems to appeal to Kemp because of the proximity it puts him in to Sanderson’s girlfriend, Chenault (Amber Heard).

            Between making his moral decision regarding his journalistic pride and desires for another man’s woman, Kemp spends much of his time in drunken debauchery. Occasionally, he hallucinates on experimental drugs as well. Paired with fellow writers and heavy drinkers (Michael Rispoli and Giovani Ribisi), the drunken escapades lead to high speed pursuits and trouble with the local law. Mostly the film seems to drift between mishaps during drinking hours and those during hangover hours.

            The Blu-ray includes a featurette about the making of The Rum Diary, especially the literary beginnings which inspired the film. There is also a featurette on the backstory, though it is really just the period clothing and immaculate beaches in high definition which make the Blu-ray worth upgrading to.

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