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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey / nshockey.express@gmail.com
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

Johnny Depp’s brilliant performance in “The Rum Diary”

Before watching the movie I was familiar with the book “The Rum Diary” and the author, Hunter S. Thompson. I read both “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” in which Johnny Depp also played the main role, and “The Rum Diary.” I know the author’s irregular style and use of diction.

However, audience members who aren’t familiar with Thompson would probably not enjoy the movie as much as I did because of my familiarity.

From the beginning it was a fast-paced, quick dialogue from actor to actor. Paul Kemp, played by Johnny Depp, is a journalist hired in Puerto Rico for a small English paper called the San Juan Star. The paper is going under so the editor in chief, Lotterman, wants to acquire a very stylish writer to produce more readers.

Kemp doesn’t have the slightest clue of what he is getting into but met a number of different personalities, including some very good friends. He falls in love with a woman, Chenault, who is the girlfriend of a crook, Sanderson, looking for a writer like Kemp to run an illegal hotel business.

Kemp is put through many tough situations: getting arrested, getting attacked by local Puerto Ricans, obtaining massive hangovers and getting double-crossed by two people, Lotterman and Sanderson.

A couple reasons why I don’t think people unfamiliar with the author would enjoy the movie is all the names and characters to keep track of. In the first five minutes, more than seven or eight people were introduced. The movie also gives honor to Thompson’s memory (he died in 2005) and a good number of lines come directly from the book. The lines are filled with intense, strange words that really make you feel like Thompson is telling the story directly.

Kemp was always very dressed up during the day: a suit, slacks and tie; ready to get work done. By night his hair was disheveled with his shirt half untucked, drunk off rum. His buttons undone, Depp plays his down-to-earth character very well.

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He also had to be very tough at times, like when they got chased by the Puerto Ricans in another scene. Kemp stuck his head out the sun roof, took a gulp of alcohol and sprayed it with a lighter near his mouth. This created a fireball effect. He burned a cop’s face and that was the reason for his arrest.

The acting and dialogue was magnificent, all the actors worked their characters very well. I couldn’t picture any other actors playing the roles. It was all around a very good movie.

I also enjoyed the fact that it was so much like the book. It covered every detail of the book in the movie (maybe just a couple parts were left out). Every aspect in the book got its role in the movie.

I suggest this movie to anyone who likes Johnny Depp. He plays his character extremely well. If you haven’t read the book then you might get a little lost and a little turned off by the style, but it has enough potential to make any viewer satisfied. If you have read the book and know of Thompson’s work then you’ve probably already considered watching the movie and should do so.

I would pay to see it again.

The movie is currently showing at Reading Cinemas Tower Theater, Century Sacramento 6 Drive-In, and Century Century Stadium 14.

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