Depp exceeds expectations

November 11, 2011 Review Print Print

You could film Johnny Depp standing quietly in a plain white room for two-and-a-half hours straight. If you released that footage millions of women would still flock and happily pay good money just to watch him be.

Luckily Depp hasn’t put us in that position. He keeps exceeding our expectations, film after film. “The Rum Diary” only follows suit.

“The Rum Diary,” originally a novel by Hunter S. Thompson, is about an American journalist who finds himself confronted with himself and various difficult situations when he takes a job writing for a failing newspaper in Puerto Rico. He tries to balance his drinking and the antics that accompany island life, while consciously attempting to do his job, and salvage what’s left of the paper. The only hitch is the plethora of other characters in his life bent on preventing this from occurring.

Thompson and Depp have an odd understanding of one other and one other’s creative process. “The Rum Diary” being the second time Depp has taken on a Thompson novel. His portrayal of Raoul Duke in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is unforgettable. As is his depiction of Paul Kemp, the protagonist in “The Rum Diary.”

Depp is kind of a King Midas of film, only everything he touches turns to sold. Not that this film needed any help. The dialogue alone was worth the price of admission, not to mention the drool inducing beauty of Chenault played by Amber Heard.

Every character was three dimensional, not in the “need glasses to see” kind of way, but in that they came to life. They didn’t seem like a character in a movie, rather a human you’d met and genuinely care for or disliked. No one person “carried” the show, each actor brought something to the table that was cohesive with both the piece and each other.

Unquestionably one of the more likable characters was Moburg played by Giovanni Ribisi, a phenomenal actor all his own. Moburg is a cracked-out, moonshine-making journalist who shows up for work on payday, wearing only a trench coat, boots and a hat.

The movie alone would have been fantastic, but Depp has a commanding presence and a level of beauty to his acting that few possess. His presence gives movies a rare personality unmatched by others. Kemp was quirky yet believable as was the entirety of the film. Even in a recession “The Rum Diary” is well worth the ticket price.

Rating: A+

To contact Priscilla Colley, email

Write a Reply or Comment