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【初回限定生産】ラム・ダイアリー ブルーレイ&DVDセット (2枚組) [Blu-ray]
Based in Peurto Rico in the 1950′s this is a story of a struggling journalist / writer trying to stay of the booze and do some quality work for the struggling local paper and ultimately challenging the ‘bastards’ – moneyed elite – that want to build a hotel on a untouched island and basically rape Peurto Rico for all its resources while the local population lives in poverty. So you may be able to tell the film tries to balance the serious aspect with the post ‘Hangover’ requirements for silly japes. For me it didn’t work very well, but it did make me want to read the book.
Bruce `Withnail' Robinson, one of several directors mooted for 1998's adaptation of FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS - and who flatly turned it down, sadly - takes the helm of the cinematic adaptation of THE RUM DIARY. The book was one of Thompson's first to be written - and one of the last to be published - as such, Robinson arguably benefits from having a more linear narrative than some of Thompson's later work from which to cleave a script.
After impressing many - including Thompson himself - with his turn as Raoul Duke in FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, Depp effectively reprises his role as another one of Thompson's half-crazy, wired alter-egos. He is Paul Kemp, a would-be novelist who arrives in Puerto Rico to work for the San Juan Star, a local rag that is rapidly sinking amidst empire-building, civil unrest and the cost of keeping the American Dream alive. Journalism provides Kemp with a full-time excuse for not pursuing his career as a novelist, and he finds himself drawn into political scandal, sun-fuelled lust and long hot nights filled with cockfights and witch-doctory.
As you might expect, alcohol and chemical abuse features among Kemp's misfit cronies as a supporting cast member, but it is incidental (compared with some of Thompson's work, anyway) to a story that focuses heavily on its place in the sun - namely a relatively carefree era brought to an end by greed, corruption and a blind eye to the symptoms of poverty in Latin America. Robinson's direction is deft, with his influence obvious in both the score and photography - the vivid colours and images perfectly convey both ends of the Latin economic spectrum, and you can almost smell the sweat and expirated booze of the gambling pits and bars.
For me, the union of Depp (the obvious choice to play Thompson again) and Robinson was made in heaven and long overdue. The script is unmistakably Robinson's, with moments of incisive genius in the dialogue that could only have come from his cannonball of a brain. The ever-brilliant Giovanni Ribisi almost steals the whole show as the psychotic (and Withnail lookalike?) Moberg, Aaron Eckhart is delicious as the sleazy Sanderson, while Amber Heard is a perfect casting choice for the positively ethereal Chenault.
Although the movie appears to distil Thompson's world-view into some fairly simplistic chunks - the exchanges between Kemp and Lotterman, while effective, tend to spoon-feed the viewer - it's important to remember Thompson was only 22 when he started the book. More is made of the political intrigue element of the plot than in the book, which is arguably necessary to prevent it from becoming just another series of stand-alone scenes, and it is sometimes a little hard to reconcile Depp's portrayal of the laconic, booze-addled Kemp with the champion of liberty and integrity that he periodically waxes grandiose about.
It does suffer from some pacing problems towards the middle, and it probably isn't for everyone - particularly if you're not a Thompson or a Depp fan. But I do believe that if you come to the movie cold and are prepared to unwind and pay attention to every line (there are some key blink-and-you'll-miss them moments) then you may very well enjoy this slice of sun, sea and sextuple-vision.
Johnny Depp, with his own studio `Infinitum Nihil`, has now taken to producing `indie' gems like this, following the footsteps of Robert Redford, George Clooney and Sean Penn. He should rib tickle anyone into sustained laughter from his first appearance in the film to the last, without trying hard to play funny that is. It is not his mere appearance in a 50's hairstyle and attire that makes one laugh, but the subtle nuances this ingenious actor brings into the role as an ambitious, but aimless, and alcoholic journalist who is searching for a purpose to his otherwise frivolous life.
The story behind 'The Rum Diary' is as interesting as the film itself. The movie is adapted from a book that Hunter S Thompson, the heroic crusader, started writing during his unsuccessful but eventful sting as a journalist in Puerto Rico in the early 60's. Thompson never managed to get it published then, despite numerous attempts and a number of rewrites, and had practically given it up until the late 90's. The book was finally published in 1998, and following another protracted and despairing search to produce the movie version and a number of failed attempts later, Depp, a close friend of Thompson, finally rescued the project in 2009 to give us the movie, sadly though 4 years after the death of the much loved author.
Then, this literally rum-drenched film landed on the lap of the writer-director Bruce Robinson who hadn't touched a drop of alcohol for six and a half years by that time and, more importantly, hadn't directed a film since `Jennifer 8' (1992), due to his long held disenchantment with the film industry, in spite of his unforgettable achievements in direction such as `Withnail & I' (1987) and `How to Get Ahead in Advertising' (1989). When a massive writer's block took the better of him, Robinson turned to alcohol again and completed the script drinking a bottle a day, but remained sober until the last stages of shooting in Puerto Rico, when "some savage drinking took place" he says, thanks to bad boy Johnny!
Thompson's novel is filmmaker's gold, because it offers almost everything which makes a film a success. There is political strife hanging over like a dark cloud throughout, in a bitterly divided nation solely run by US interests. Here, the contrast between the disadvantaged and exploited natives and the luxurious and hedonistic lifestyles of the expatriates is as blatant as the disparity between the shanties of the poor and the lavish hotels that occupy much of the virgin beaches, on which the locals are not allowed. Then there is the rum and drug fuelled satire coming from the world weary US journalists, who are stuck in this godforsaken place and have little to lose and nothing at all to gain from being there. The humour is dark and sardonic but intelligent and meaningful. Then there is intrigue and suspense, all too real and unpredictable. Add in one of the most scintillating and erotically charged romances ever, in the form of a wild, bewitchingly sexy and seemingly unattainable seductress, and we have a winner, not to mention the black magic and cock fighting that is!
Robinson is back to his usual panache, in simply but brilliantly capturing the realities of a fast disintegrating nation, ably aided by memorable performances all round and by a light-hearted score from Christopher Young, which beautifully compliments the humorous tone of the movie. The cinematography by Dariusz Wolski is simply sublime in portraying the rustic and dilapidated world of the real Puerto Rican, in stark contrast to the paradise that it is for the affluent.
I believe that `The Rum Diary' is a must see for those who value cinema as an indispensable medium for socio-political discourse, although it offers enough to keep anyone engaged and chuckling to the very end.
Chenault - I cannot lie - you just want to be her in parts of this film. However, having been a fan of the book I felt that the screen writer (Bruce Robinson) could have given her character much more depth, although Amber Heard worked well with what she was given. In essence, a character who was some what tragic was turned quite literally into the Hollywood cliché of a pretty girl leaving a rich man for a poor man. Sigh! However, someone has since pointed out to me that novels are intended to make you think and films are meant to be enjoyed, so I can't really complain.
Overall, however, I highly recommend!
Its one of those films that dont add up at first but will grow on you when watched again.
Saw this originally at the cinema and it was even funnier 2nd time around.
What turns out to be a serious subject seen through a light hearted haze of booze + drugs.
My favourite part is where Johnny Depp + friend try to drive thier car after 1/2 the parts including front seats have been stolen!
A true story too. Will watch this over and over.