The Rum Diary

Rated 3.0

Johnny Depp played Hunter S. Thompson in Terry Gilliam’s 1998 film version of that writer’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and now he’s playing another version of that character in the movie version of Thompson’s novel The Rum Diary. The main setting is Puerto Rico in the politically fraught year of 1960. Paul Kemp (Depp) is a wildly alcoholic journalist who has come to take a job on the San Juan Star, an English-language newspaper. At least a couple of his new colleagues surpass him in the pursuit of wretched excess, and Kemp veers into an adjacent set of misadventures when he enters the orbit of a corrupt American deal-maker (Aaron Eckhart) and his lithe blonde girlfriend (Amber Heard). The overall story arc, such as it is, has Kemp moving from bummed-out itinerant writer to would-be crusading journalist, and while there’s plenty of gonzo funk, the main onscreen action is in a mélange of semi-disconnected episodes. Director Bruce Robinson and company seem content to let all this play out without anything more than lip-service coherence. Cinemark 14. Rated R