Love him or hate him, Hunter S. Thompson was a writer who could inspire men to madness, his political manifestos frothing up rage against machines political and economical or, if that wasn't your cup of tea, then at the man himself for daring to write such outrageousness. So really, the most glaring and disappointing thing about the Thompson adaptation The Rum Diary is how utterly toothless the damn thing is. This, despite featuring Thompson disciple Johnny Depp in the lead role, surrounded by a band of degenerates who, like Thompson's best characters, seem to be inching slowly toward a higher awakening via a marathon of debauchery. The movie bears all the hallmarks of a Thompson story but none of his bite, settling instead for some amusing, occasionally hilarious set-pieces that work great separately but not so much as a whole, and some vague fist-shaking at a political regime long since relegated to the history books.
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