October 28, 2011

The Rum Diary

A shaggy-dog story; an overheated and drunk dog too. Wildly colorful, joyfully verbose and splattered with insults, casual racism, potent sexuality, and deranged fervor. At the center is the relatively stable Johnny Depp as dissolute journalist Paul Kemp, his latest love letter to author Hunter S Thompson.
Mixed in with the drunken adventures in the Third World is Kemp's mild outrage at corporate imperialism exploiting the native population and environment. If it weren't for Kemp's occasional railing against the inevitable, there'd be no plot at all. His moral fiber is the only thing he seems to care about, and it seems inorganic.
Aaron Eckhart is really good at playing the charming dick, it's too bad there's no other side to his character. Amber Heard has a classic beauty, which is fully explored here. I'm hopeful she can leverage her beauty, Charlize Theron style, but the jury's still out.
With Johnny Depp's relatively restrained antics at the center, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi, and Michael Rispoli are able to unspool their id completely, to high comic effect. If Depp where more zany, the film would resemble an unlocked monkey cage.
I wasn't expecting any more that what I've described, and Johnny Depp is such a charming and loveable comic actor, that I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. My grade: B-plus! (Harvard Square Church St Screen 1, with George and Adam)