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Film / The Rum Diary

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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.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: To make money to print the last edition, Kemp, Sala and Moburg place a big cockfighting bet. They visit Papa Nebo, Moburg's hermaphrodite witch doctor, to lay a blessing on the strongest fighting cockerel on the island, which Sala manages to borrow. They win, but return to the office to find that the printing presses have been confiscated.
  • 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.
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  • Black Comedy Rape: What happened to Kemp's predecessor as "Madame Le Zonga"? Raping to death is mentioned, but his editor admits he was fucking with him.
    Kemp: The raped him to death?
  • Booze Flamethrower: Used to fend off angry Puerto Ricans, and accidentally used to fry a police officers face.
  • 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.
  • Horrorscope: The trope is name-dropped. Paul is assigned to the horoscope section of the San Juan Star paper by his boss because Paul's aims as being a brutally honest journalist conflicts with the feelgood, profit-over-journalistic-integrity that the paper is going for. Paul goes at it with very little enthusiasm, at one point referring to it as a "horrorscope".
  • Male Gaze: The camera zooms from Chenault's breasts onto her legs in one scene.
  • 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.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • To Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, as it’s an adaptation of a Hunter S. Thompson novel starring Johnny Depp as Thompson’s Author Avatar. Although, it should be noted that it chronicles the misadventures of a Hunter before he isn't quite so inebriated or bald.
  • "What Now?" Ending: Kemp leaves the island on a stolen boat, and doesn't seem to know even where he's going.


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