The Rum Diary

2011

The Rum Diary

Critics Consensus

It's colorful and amiable enough, and Depp's heart is clearly in the right place, but The Rum Diary fails to add sufficient focus to its rambling source material.

51%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 167

36%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 44,125

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Movie Info

Based on the debut novel by Hunter S. Thompson. Tiring of the noise and madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp) travels to the pristine island of Puerto Rico to write for a local newspaper, run by downtrodden editor Lotterman (Richard Jenkins). Adopting the rum-soaked life of the island, Paul soon becomes obsessed with Chenault (Amber Heard), the wildly attractive Connecticut-born fiancée of Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart). Sanderson is one of a growing number of American entrepreneurs who are determined to convert Puerto Rico into a capitalist paradise in service of the wealthy. When Kemp is recruited by Sanderson to write favorably about his latest unsavory scheme, the journalist is presented with a choice: to use his words for the corrupt businessmen's financial benefit, or use them to take the bastards down. -- (C) FilmDistrict

Cast

Aaron Eckhart
as Sanderson
Amber Heard
as Chenault
Richard Jenkins
as Lotterman
Bill Smitrovich
as Mr. Zimburger
Natalia Rivera
as Chenault's Friend
Karen Austin
as Mrs. Zimburger
Julio Ramos
as Intruder
Rafa Alvarez
as Taxi Driver
Sasha Merced
as Café Girl
Eduardo Cortés
as Café Patron
Guillermo Valedón
as Xanadu Maître d'
William R. Charlton
as Hotel Waiter
Miguel Angel Reyes
as El Monstruo's Trainer
Andy Umberger
as Mr. Green
Bill Chott
as Bowling Champ
Lisa Robins
as Bowling Champ's wife
Noel Delgado
as Night Club Dancer
Jimmy Ortega
as Cop on Fire
Angel Nolasco
as Segurra's Daddy
Javier Ortiz-Cortés
as Union Leader 2
Jorge Antares
as Union Leader 3
Aurelio Lima
as Intruder Sidekick 1
Luis Gonzaga
as Intruder Sidekick 2
Randall Jacobs
as Hound Dog Taylor
Eric Colón
as Cock Fight Referee
Daniel Kalal
as Party Guest
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News & Interviews for The Rum Diary

Critic Reviews for The Rum Diary

All Critics (167) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (86) | Rotten (81)

  • The film looks good and Robinson gives his actors lines they can spit out with some relish.

    November 11, 2011 | Rating: 3/5
  • Depp, that purring Persian cat of an actor, never looks drunk or scared or angry in any way, and the final defiant journalistic call to arms against the "bastards" is just hot air.

    November 10, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • A rare glimpse into the mind of the gonzo writer and among Depp's best work.

    November 10, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It clomps across two long hours on four flat tyres.

    November 10, 2011 | Rating: 2/5
  • A mirthless, sparkless "comedy" of galley journalism and tyro Bohemianism in 1960s Puerto Rico.

    November 10, 2011 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • It's funny as hell in places and touchingly warm.

    November 8, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Cath Clarke

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Rum Diary

  • Jul 31, 2013
    I wasn't expecting a whole lot out of The Rum Diary, I almost dismissed it from the trailer, what I got was a pleasant surprise. The film is flawed in its acting and pacing.The scene where Kemp (played by Johnny Depp) met Chenault in the lake contained piss poor acting. I ended up rewinding to see it again, and found it nastily cheesy. The movie was poorly paced, starting very slow and suave, in a Hemingway like setting, and then just chopping through the action scenes. Amber Heard looked stunning as Chenault, no wonder Kemp fell in love with her. This film does have tremendous humor. The tongue scene (when they're under the influence of eye drops) had me laughing for a couple minutes. The film has themes of alcoholism (I guess that obvious from the title), and race division. I'd like to read Hunter S. Thompson's book, as this seems it'd would work even better if it was read. The only thing I know about Thompson is that he also wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and he had an awesome funeral. Anyways this is a solid introduction to Bruce Robinson.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Jul 29, 2012
    Paul Kemp: Why did she have to happen? Just when I was doing so good without her.  "One part outrage. One part justice. Three parts rum. Mix well." One thing you have to know before going into any Hunter S. Thompson adaption is that he is very polarizing, as are his books, and as are the films based on his books. Very seldom do you hear somebody say, "Oh yeah, Hunter Thompson is alright." No. You hear them say either, "I love Thompson" or "I hate Thompson." As for me, I love him. I've read many of his books, including The Rum Diary and have seen all the adaptions. This one falls between Where the Buffalo Roam and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in my opinion. It's slightly better then Where the Buffalo Roam, but not quite as good as Fear and Loathing. Our character in this one is Paul Kemp. He is a writer who moves down to Puerto Rico to take a job on a newspaper that is tanking big time. Paul is what you call an alcoholic. He drinks, drinks, and drinks some more. He happens to meet a girl that is taken by a very powerful man in Puerto Rico, who wants to use Paul to help him make some big money. If you know Thompson, you know that his stories aren't very plot oriented, nor are they extremely character driven. There more... substance driven, then anything else. The best thing about The Rum Diary is the cast. Johnny Depp plays Kemp in a return to Thompson role. Then there's a supporting cast of Aaron Rckhart, Michael Rispoli, Giovanni Ribsi, and the extremely beautiful Amber Heard. Their all pretty good. I especially liked Ribsi in a very bizarre, drunken role. His character is really "out there" and he plays "out there" very well. As does Johnny Depp. The Rum Diary isn't a perfect movie, not even close. Adaptions of Thompson books aren't easy to make. The material doesn't make for a straightforward story on screen. The great thing about his works are how chaotic they are. There's nothing sensical going on in them; read and watch Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for a perfect example of how chaotic his works can be. If you're a fan of Thompson, I think you should be able to get a good amount of enjoyment from this adaption of his debut novel. This isn't a great film, but it is a good deal of fun.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 03, 2012
    Boring. Tries too hard to be weird and offbeat. It's got substance at times, but B, Robinson doesn't seem to care. Not stylish enough and most likeyl disappointing to fans of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
    Hugo S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 11, 2012
    .Finally a movie that Johnny Depp does a half way decent job of acting in. About a newspaper reporter that is in P.Rico working for a newspaper whose publication is in English early 1960's. Shows his life and times which are very comical most times. During his travels he meets a beautiful women who is already engaged to a very rich man who is involved in a scheme to buy up land to build hotels/casinos. So should he expose him? 3 1/2 stars
    Bruce B Super Reviewer

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