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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's quirky and it's fun
I really don't understand why some people don't rate this movie at all. It takes all sorts, I suppose. For me, The Rum Diary is an often hilarious drama and something a bit different for Johnny Depp who plays the role of Paul Kemp, an American journalist who goes to work for a small and struggling newspaper in the America owned island of Puerto Rico during the 1960s...
Published on 19 Feb 2012 by Valerie J.

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but a little disappointing compared to 'Fear and Loathing...'
I have to say that this Johnny Depp ‘vehicle’ is not as good as the brilliant adaptation of Hunter S Thompson’s other book ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ in which Depp also starred. It was nice to see Giovanni Ribisi (Pheobe’s brother in Friends) as an alcholic waster character, but it wasn’t a big part. The lovely Amber Heard...
Published 4 months ago by M. O. HAYNES


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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's quirky and it's fun, 19 Feb 2012
By 
Valerie J. (West Yorks, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Rum Diary [DVD] (2011) (DVD)
I really don't understand why some people don't rate this movie at all. It takes all sorts, I suppose. For me, The Rum Diary is an often hilarious drama and something a bit different for Johnny Depp who plays the role of Paul Kemp, an American journalist who goes to work for a small and struggling newspaper in the America owned island of Puerto Rico during the 1960s. Kemp says, at the job interview, that his c.v. is as phoney as his stories. Over all, the newspaper staff seem to be a dysfunctional lot surviving on booze and drugs, red-eyed Kemp included as he swigs back the rum and tries to fit into the local hispanic scene with little success. But, it's hard to keep out of trouble when you go falling for a rich man's wife (Amber Heard), and a crooked rich man (Aaron Eckhart) at that.

I thought I would never say it but, in this, there are times that Johnny Depp is not a pretty sight. There is one scene in particular that had me rolling in the aisles, so to speak. When he and a colleague are in a small car together, a couple of gringos being chased by nasty Puerto Ricans. I laugh as I type, at the memory of it. If you check the trailer on YouTube, it shows a bit of it.

Kemp's accommodation is garbage but Puerto Rico looks fun. I went there in the 90s and it wasn't half as lively. I must have checked into the wrong hotel.

I'm not in the least surprised to find that I enjoyed this movie because it was directed by Bruce Robinson who directed the classic and hilarious British movie, 'Withnail & I' (1987) as well as *Still Crazy (1998).

The Rum Diary movie is based on the book by Hunter S. Thompson, available at Amazon.

* Error - My mistake and I have been corrected by GlynLuke: Bruce Robinson didn't direct Still Crazy he starred in it. Thanks, GlynLuke. :)

Love it or hate it, I guess.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, very entertaining but flat, 28 Nov 2011
By 
Ian Armer (Lancashire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Rum Diary [DVD] (2011) (DVD)
Spoilers.

By 'flat' I mean there are no real spikes along the way to really hook you in. The Rum Diary is a film about finding your voice and yet in search of a voice of its own. Entertaining, yes, but weirdly lacking 'something' to make it all gel together.

Depp channels Hunter magnificently (again) and the plot bounces along at a spritely pace, but it is entirely without focus in telling the real story of how the fictional Paul Kemp became Hunter S. Thompson. The bastards win, pessimism prevails, there is lots of drinking and a few brief honest glimpses of what it is to be a writer (the unflattering description of Kemp's CV sums it up). Sandwiched into the proceedings is a 'go nowhere' romantic sub-plot, a slew of set-ups that are deliciously pulled out from under the viewer as everything falls apart and pedestrian, almost TV movie direction from Bruce Robinson. Seriously, if you missed it at the cinema, the television/home cinema experience won't detract.

On the plus side, it is well written. Bruce Robinson's script is literate and layered - maybe too layered with various plot strands - but The Rum Diary could almost be a prequel to Terry Gilliam's 'Fear & Loathing'.

The film leads you along but takes you to the one place you never expected - a marina theft for a gloomy finale. Try and throw your expectations out of the window when watching this, it might even benefit from a second viewing, because there are lots of hidden treasures in The Rum Diary - they're just obscured by a rambling, excessive plot that burns out and manages to turn this flaw into a redeeming feature. Watch it, you'll know what I mean!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quit your whining, 7 April 2012
This review is from: The Rum Diary [DVD] (2011) (DVD)
I also, as another reviewer said, don't get what people are complaining about. Maybe because it had an actual PLOT, people didn't find it enjoyable. Not enough sex and violence perhaps? Just intelligent dialogue and ideas set in an amusing way with some attractive yet real people playing the stars. IMHO it is the best j.Depp has done in a lonnng while. Bravo!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and entertaining, 22 April 2012
By 
Andres C. Salama (Buenos Aires, Argentina) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Rum Diary [DVD] (2011) (DVD)
A big commercial flop, this intelligent comedy was dismissed by the critics and ignored by the public, and yet I must say that I quite enjoyed it. It is based on a novel of the same name by the late journalist Hunter Thompson. Johhny Depp stars as Paul Kemp, an alter ego of Thompson (Depp had already played a character based on Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas).

Set in 1960, as the movie begins we see Kemp arriving in Puerto Rico in an alcoholic haze. After an interview with Lotterman, its editor, Kemp gets a job in an English language newspaper there that has seen better days. Kemp becomes pal with two other alcoholic reporters in the paper, the crazy Moberg and the cynical Sala. These three are soon living together in a decrepit house in San Juan and are involved in a series of humorous adventures. The closest thing this movie has to a regular plot is when Kemp is contacted by Sanderson, an enigmatic businessman (Aaron Eckhart, who is great). Sanderson introduces Kemp to various businessmen and politicians and wants to recruit him to write a puff job in the paper so that an island that serves as practice range for the military would be available for the construction of hotels. Sanderson has a very pretty girlfriend, Chenault (Amber Heard), who soon tries to seduce Kemp. Kemp eventually wants to write about the various corrupt plots he learns in the newspaper, but he is vetted the very cynical Lotterman, who doesn't want to rock the place, and instead thinks the newspaper should do soft pieces.

I'm not telling anything more about the movie, but it makes for a pretty entertaining film. It's intriguing to me that this film was not well received, perhaps for some it has too broad a style for a comedy, given the subject matter. The great recreation of the era certainly helps.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 July 2014
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This review is from: The Rum Diary [DVD] (2011) (DVD)
Very good film
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 28 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Rum Diary [DVD] (2011) (DVD)
Great product, really quick delivery. Thank you
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1.0 out of 5 stars Gave up on it., 19 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Rum Diary [DVD] (2011) (DVD)
Watched this up until half way where I gave up out of sheer boredom. Dull, plodding story line, lost the will to live.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kooky Film!, 1 May 2014
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This review is from: The Rum Diary [DVD] (2011) (DVD)
Loved this! It was nice to see Johnny Depp in a different type of film, lovely locations, great script and actors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky Brilliance, 22 April 2014
This review is from: The Rum Diary [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Don't take any notice of any bad reviews. If you like Johnny Depp at his quirky best and are a fan of Hunter S you will love this.
This is not a mainstream movie and not meant to be. You can tell this was a labour of love by the makers rather than a cash cow.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but a little disappointing compared to 'Fear and Loathing...', 25 Mar 2014
By 
M. O. HAYNES "couch magpie" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Rum Diary [DVD] (2011) (DVD)
I have to say that this Johnny Depp ‘vehicle’ is not as good as the brilliant adaptation of Hunter S Thompson’s other book ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ in which Depp also starred. It was nice to see Giovanni Ribisi (Pheobe’s brother in Friends) as an alcholic waster character, but it wasn’t a big part. The lovely Amber Heard was okay as the love interest but very reminiscent of Domino in Thunderball, although her motivation for wanting to scoot off with JD’s character was unclear.

Based in Peurto Rico in the 1950′s this is a story of a struggling journalist / writer trying to stay of the booze and do some quality work for the struggling local paper and ultimately challenging the ‘bastards’ – moneyed elite – that want to build a hotel on a untouched island and basically rape Peurto Rico for all its resources while the local population lives in poverty. So you may be able to tell the film tries to balance the serious aspect with the post ‘Hangover’ requirements for silly japes. For me it didn’t work very well, but it did make me want to read the book.
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Rum Diary [Blu-ray] [2011] [US Import]
Rum Diary [Blu-ray] [2011] [US Import] by Bruce Robinson (Blu-ray - 2012)
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