Film / The Rum Diary

A 2011 film starring Johnny Depp, based on Hunter S. Thompson's lone novel and written and directed by Bruce Robinson.

Paul Kemp arrives on the island of Puerto Rico after being enlisted to become the newest reporter for the San Juan Star. Kemp is introduced to his newest co-workers and cigar-chomping editor boss and is told he will be doing color stories for the paper. The movie revolves around the many adventures Kemp gets himself into, eventually including a plot to purchase a nearby unspoiled island and turn it into yet another tourist destination.


  • The Alcoholic: Most of the main cast, but especially the side character Moberg whose booze consumption puts the rest of the cast drunken characters to shame.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The newspaper gets shut down, the printing presses are confiscated before Paul can print the expose' he had planned, he and Sala are out of a job and wanted by the law. Fortunately, they just made a big wad of cash from cockfighting, there's a convenient boat owned by Sanderson for Paul to steal, Chenault is waiting for him and they marry according to the epilogue, but most importantly, the seed of Gonzo Journalism has been planted.
  • Black Comedy Rape: What happened to Kemp's predecessor as "Madame Le Zonga"?
    Kemp: The raped him to death?
    • His editor admits he was fucking with him.
  • Booze Flamethrower: Used to fend off angry Puerto Ricans, and accidentally used to fry a police officers face.
  • Da Editor: Lotterman is a vaguely corrupt version of this trope.
  • Foreshadowing:
    Lotterman: This is the american dream, Paul.
    Paul: You did me the best favour I ever had. There is no dream, Chenault. There's a piss-puddle of greed spreading throughout the world.
    Paul: I want to make a promise to you, the reader. And I don't know if I can fulfill it tomorrow, or even the day after that. But I put the bastards of this world on notice; that I do not have their best interests at heart. I will try and speak for my reader. That is my promise. And it will be a voice made of ink, and rage.
  • The Film of the Book
  • Gonzo Journalism: Possibly an origin story.
  • Historical In-Joke: Watching the 1960 Presidential debates.
    The Irish one will win. But they won't let him live.
  • Hot Scoop: Subverted. Kemp tells his editor he's got one in Sanderson's land deal, but the editor doesn't care, he just wants to promote feel good stories about the island.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Papa Nebo's chicken blessing.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Paul Kemp could be considered this.
  • It's Always Carnival on Saint Thomas
  • Male Gaze: The camera zooms from Chenault's breasts onto her legs in one scene.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Chenault.
  • Origin Story: For Hunter S. Thompson
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Sanderson's Modus Operandi.
  • Shout-Out: Multiple to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:
    • The bottle containing Moberg's drug looks to be a replica of the adrenochrome bottle.
    • The scene with Kemp monologuing while typing facing out a shuttered window is a direct lift from scene where Duke sits in the same pose and makes the famous Wave Speech from Fear and Loathing.
  • The '60s: 1960 to be exact.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Or Transmetropolitan, if you prefer. Also to Withnail & I. It's a Bruce Robinson-directed tragicomedy where the main character experiences a downward, drunken spiral to an epiphany, and ends up leaving the environment he's been living in.
  • The Magic Cock Fighting Equation: Use El Monstro, win as much money as necessary.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to the corrupt land deal?
  • "What Now?" Ending: Kemp leaves the island on a stolen boat, and doesn't seem to know even where he's going.
  • Where Da White Women At?: The bar/dance scene in St. Thomas.
  • Wretched Hive: Parts of Puerto Rico may qualify.