Even though the movie “The Rum Diary” is pretty new, I think I can still put it in the “Classic Movie” category. This is due to the fact that it is based on Hunter S. Thompson’s earliest novel. He was exactly my age when he started writing this (in my opinion) great piece of literature. It reveals a budding, enthusiastic writer such as myself just doing what he was born to do, write. However, after reading the book and watching the movie, my opinion on the movie isn’t as great as his novel.
It almost always is a fact that if there is a movie re-make of a book, of course the book is going to be better. This is just because there is a lot more detail in a book than a movie. There is more depth, and explanation within a book, simply because no one can fit all of that intensity and detail within an hour and a half movie. However, there have been movie re-makes of books that still achieve success. In my opinion, “The Rum Diary” starring Johnny Depp, definitely does not live up to the book’s standards. Don’t get me wrong, Depp is a great actor and I have always respected him for his talent. It is not his fault for this movie’s downfall. He did a great job playing Paul Kemp, the drunken journalist (No doubt a reflection of Thompson himself) who goes off into a foreign land to write for a paper, which will without a doubt eventually fail. The downfall of this movie, in my opinion, is the screen play writer.
Whoever wrote the screen play for this movie completely screwed it up. There is no character depth, the plot is too loose, and the story does not match the book whatsoever. In my opinion, they over-did the “Hollywood” aspect, much like other book re-makes. Of course, movie makers have to over- do the antagonist/ protagonist aspect in movies to appeal to the general public, but if someone was smart enough to just to stick to the original story line, it would make for a much better movie. This was the downfall of “The Rum Diary”. It’s always a shame when someone feels that they should completely change an already great story. Thompson would probably roll over in his grave if he was given the chance to watch this movie.
If anyone has read this book, I actually do recommend watching the movie just to witness the talent of Depp and his commitment to everything he does. This movie is no exception. In my opinion, he plays Kemp/ Thompson exceptionally well, just as he did in the well known “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. The only problem I have with the movie is the ruining of the original story Thompson wrote about in his now best selling novel. It’s no surprise though to me at all. Hollywood always seems to find a way to ruin an already interesting, and exciting story.