Friday, 11 November 2011
REVIEW: THE RUM DIARY
Goes down smoothly.
15, 101 Minutes. Starring: Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi. Director: Bruce Robinson. Screenwriter: Bruce Robinson.
Johnny Depp is the man, one of Hollywood's realest leading men that keeps drawing them in picture after picture. Sure everyone knows how good he is. Women want him, men want to be him and all that song and dance. Still in-between all the jazz of the peculiar and strangely unique characters Depp plays it's easy to forget just how cool and nice he cleans up. Only the classic Michael Mann picture 'Public Enemies' has done that in recent times until now.
Here's Johnny the real deal, classy and seemingly effortlessly cool, calm and collected in this years toast to him and the legendary scribes of Hunter S. Thomas' novel. From the same bottle of 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' comes a new tonic, one part Hunter and one part Depp. This is 'The Rum Diary'. No, these aren't the drunken ramblings of Depp's Pirate persona Jack Sparrow but the work of an intrepid journalist.
Set in San Juan, Puerto Rico the cool, paradise and beauty of this film is not far from the Caribbean and from the sky-high, Dean Martin 'Volare' opening its clear your in for a classy journey. This story is exactly that romantic and stylish, but purists don't fear there's substance on this island and we're not talking about the alcohol. There's car humps of humour and tongue lashing and some Johnny 'Depth' once this film switches axles and really gets going. Showing some integrity between all the booze and journalists, this film has something to say even if it is subtlety. A film revolving in and out of bars is bound to have some sobriety.
Depp even in his late forties is still on top of his game even at the bottom of a glass. He must be drinking from a fountain of youth. Michael Rispoli is right behind him in great, film-favourite favourable support. As for the love interest Amber Heard is undeniable and a throwback like this perfect period piece. Depp's problem lies with Heard's boyfriend played coolly by Aaron Eckhart who shows us a real two-face. Strap a wig on an on-form Richard Jenkins and add an even more stranger than usual but sublime Giovanni Ribisi to the mix then you've got a potent cast to add to a picture perfect backdrop. From it's beauty to it's ugly truths this film tells us a little personal, quirky story with some knowledge and history to boot. Now that's real journalism. I'll drink to that. TIM DAVID HARVEY.