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
Sanderson's bejeweled tortoise that was inspired by "a book he read once" is a reference to Joris-Karl Huysmans' novel À rebours, a favorite book of Bruce Robinson's. In that novel, the tortoise rather quickly dies, because it cannot handle the weight of the gems. See more »
When Kemp interviews the tourist couple at the bowling alley,"Telstar" by The Tornadoes is playing in the background. The song was released in 1962. See more »
The average guy don't rock the boat 'cause he wants to climb aboard it. And our readership is vividly average. They don't care who the losers are. They wanna know who won. Who won the bowls, who won the races, who won the pot at the slot machines. /... / And this is the American Dream.
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I adored the novel, The Rum Diary and as an aid worker I related to many of the character's struggles. Although the film does stray quite a bit from the book itself, I think it's a perfect homage to Hunter S Thompson. The language still reeks of his Gonzo fury writing and manages to transport the audience into a drunken rant, as well as secretly educating them on the struggles of a free press. It had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion, as well as the packed out cinema that I viewed it with.
I rated this movie a 9 and the last film I rated that high was The Shining. I personally think this film was perfect. The leading actress/actors were perfect and the supporting cast phenomenal, especially Giovanni Ribisi. The only problem with this film in my opinion is that if you are not a fan of the gibbering, artistically nervous tone of most of Thompson's work, this film may be too heavy for you. Although it's easier to follow that Fear and Loathing (which scrupulously stuck to the dialogue from the novel Fear and loathing), many would find the dialogue bizarre.
Personally I loved every minute of this film and think it's already truly underrated.
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