The Rum Diary (2011)
For the second time, Johnny Depp brings Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo-style literature to the screen. The first time was with Terry Gilliam's largely unsuccessful Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was all about sensationalism. In this film, in which Thompson's alter ego Paul Kemp finds himself drinking, writing and stumbling upon dubious high-end building schemes, there's a lot more humanity, identifiable pragmatism, and a few warm and fascinating characters.
The title is The Rum Diary, which sums up a lot of what's going on on the surface here; Kemp and his fellow journalists at the wavering newspaper The San Juan Star drink rum and engage in semi-philosophical discussions while they wait for their grumpy employer to offer them more interesting work than horoscopes. One of the most attractive and interesting aspects of The Rum Diary is its nuanced, untinted and appropriately romanticized depiction of Puerto Rico in the 1950s. A paradise on earth which had so recently been raped of its innocence that not all of its soul had been affected yet. And it is here, among the circles of corrupt American capitalists, young idealistic searchers and dreamers, local thugs and regular natives, that Depp, armed with his usual receptiveness and low-key joie-de-vivre, goes exploring, observing and - hopefully - mingling when the right situation arises. Although flawed in what it tries to do, The Rum Diary has a captivating adventurousness which keeps you hooked and yearning for innocence and purity, just like Kemp himself does.