The amount of negativity SCARES me
The Rum Diary review
30th June 2012
Sure, we all have different interests (and I wouldn't have it any other way) but I'm shocked by the amount of very negative (and very stupid) reviews about this film. It feels as if there are a lot of people who strongly object to anything that doesn't conform to their ideas of what is 'right' or 'expected'.
I can certainly understand why people who have a desperate 'need' to be entertained might not like this film but surely there are few people who can't see the importance of the American Dream scene about halfway through. To see that scene and still object to the film as a whole is like saying 'Love Thy Neighbour' is stupid - you don't need to agree with the material as a whole to realise that there's SOMETHING worthwhile in it.
As for my personal opinion - I love it; I found the book to be very hum-drum, but with a few good / powerful moments - the film takes the book and manages to take ideas that Thompson was trying to say and brings them into greater focus (and a better context). For example, when Thompson was writing the book, he obviously had no idea of how important Nixon would become in his life (as well as drink and drugs), but the films makes lots of sly references to Thompson's future. It also puts the book into the greater context of Thompson trying to find his writing style (again, something the writer could not have realised at the time).
Various objections have been about how so much of the film is disconnected from other parts - it's a stylistic preference rather than any objective flaw; life is simultaneously connected and meandering and there's nothing that forces art to be any more coherent. Besides which, there are several recurring themes that tie events together in an indirect way (something else the book didn't seem to have).
If you're thinking of watching this film because you want to see Depp getting into drug-fuelled adventures a la 'Fear and Loathing' and never understood that film's greater message then skip The Rum Diary and avoid writing another mindless, negative review. But if you realise that Hunter S Thompson was so much more than a drug icon then you may well love this film.