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The Rum Diary (2011)

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American journalist Paul Kemp takes on a freelance job in Puerto Rico for a local newspaper during the 1960s and struggles to find a balance between island culture and the expatriates who live there.

Director:

Bruce Robinson

Writers:

Bruce Robinson (screenplay), Hunter S. Thompson (novel)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Depp ... Kemp
Aaron Eckhart ... Sanderson
Michael Rispoli ... Sala
Amber Heard ... Chenault
Richard Jenkins ... Lotterman
Giovanni Ribisi ... Moberg
Amaury Nolasco ... Segurra
Marshall Bell ... Donovan
Bill Smitrovich ... Mr. Zimburger
Julian Holloway ... Wolsley
Bruno Irizarry ... Lazar
Enzo Cilenti ... Digby
Aaron Lustig ... Monk
Tisuby González Tisuby González ... Rosy
Natalia Rivera Natalia Rivera ... Chenault's Friend
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Storyline

Hard-drinking journalist Paul Kemp takes a job at a besieged newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His volatile editor, Lotterman, assigns him to tourist pieces and horoscopes, but promises more. Paul rooms with Sala, an aging and equally alcoholic reporter, in a rundown flat. Sanderson, a wealthy entrepreneur, hires Paul to flack for a group of investors who plan to buy an island near the capital and build a resort. Sanderson's girl-friend, the beguiling Chenault, bats her eyes at Paul. His loyalties face challenges when he and Sala get in trouble with locals, when a Carnival dance enrages Sanderson, and when the paper hits the skids. Is the solution always alcohol? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Absolutely Nothing in Moderation See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, brief drug use and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | Spanish | German

Release Date:

28 October 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hunter S. Thompson's The Rum Diary See more »

Filming Locations:

Puerto Rico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,135,369, 30 October 2011, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$13,100,042, 18 December 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Philippe Vonlanthen, who met Bruce Robinson at a London book signing of his novel "The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Pennman" in 1999, was considered for the role of Digby. See more »

Goofs

Kemp mentions a Jacuzzi just before he signs the contract. The Jacuzzi was invented in 1968. See more »

Quotes

Lotterman: What do you know about horoscopes?
Paul Kemp: Nothing.
Lotterman: Ah, well, if I can write one, you can. So it's every day with a special "Star's Star" featured Saturday with Betty Grable and Neil Sedaka, things like that. So here, everything you need is right there. It's called "Madam La Zonga Predicts."
Paul Kemp: What happened to Madam La Zonga?
Sala: He got canceled.
Paul Kemp: What do you mean, fired?
Lotterman: They raped him to death.
Paul Kemp: They raped him to death?
Sala: There are very few places on this island I decline to visit, but the toilets frequented ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Emma Stone/Coldplay (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Nothin' But Lovin'
Written by Ed Palermo and John Palermo
Performed by Eugene Ruffolo
Courtesy of Marc Ferrari/MasterSource
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Strangely flat and lifeless. Depp should stay away from vanity projects
24 December 2015 | by patrick powellSee all my reviews

Johnny Depp's vanity project The Rum Diary - 'vanity project' for that, at the end of the day is all it is - is based on a novel of the same name by Hunter S. Thompson Depp is said to have found among Thompson's belongings after the writer's suicide. The novel, completed in 1960 wasn't published until 1998 and, well, you have to ask yourself why. If the film of the novel is anything to go by I suspect it was simply because it wasn't very good. But as I have never read it, I can't tell you either way.

Mediocre novels have been turned into great films by great scriptwriters and directors. Unfortunately on this offering Bruce Robinson isn't one. Or if he is, he this is one occasion when he hasn't pulled it off. (Robinson made his name with his semi-autobiographical film Withnail & I, and I have to admit that didn't do too much for me either.) Depp has previously dabbled in Thompson's work with Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. That didn't come off either, which suggests to me Depp has something of a blind spot where Thompson is concerned. And this is Robinson's first film as director in 19 years. That, too, should tell us something, and possibly something not particularly complimentary.

The film itself is oddly old-fashioned, in storyline, cinematography, direction and production. In the hands of another director Thompson's rather slight story might well have been turned to gold. Here it remains base metal. Almost everything about it, from the soundtrack to the dialogue, from the 'plot' to the humour - it has been billed as a comedy - is flat and lifeless and, well, mediocre. This kind of schtick was churned out weekly by journeymen writers and directors until the digital age changed what the punter wanted to see. Depp, it has to be said (and this is a personal view) always has an attractive screen presence even when the film he's starring in is third-rate (and I have seen him in some real clunkers - Blow comes to mind).

Amber Heard has virtually no role and I simply did not buy the romance between her character and Depp's. Michael Rispoli, Giovanni Ribisi, Aaron Eckhart and Richard Jenkins (who was excellent as the penny-counting hit-man's paymaster in Killing Them Softly) turn in workaday performances and do the best of a bad job given what little they had to work with. Situations which, I'm sure, were intended to raise a laugh do nothing of the kind. I really did want to turn off halfway through but held out in case it somehow went from second to third gear. But it didn't.

Sorry, Johnny, perhaps you should get better advice and listen to others rather than your own gut.


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