Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Rated 3.0

How the hell does a movie about Hunter S. Thompson wind up being perfunctory? Probably by refusing to allow that, even in spite of his real talent and tenacity, Thompson is to journalism now pretty much what Bukowski is to poetry: a magnet for reverential, ill-advised imitation, a phase to be grown out of. But of course as the man himself wrote (of the Hell’s Angels), “In a nation of frightened dullards, there’s always a sorry shortage of outlaws. And those few who make the grade are always welcome.” Writer-producer-director Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) dutifully parades the witnesses to Thompson’s construction of his own cult of personality, from Pat Buchanan to Ralph Steadman, and somewhat cheesily recreates the construction itself. Johnny Depp, who played him in a movie, reads the maestro’s writings. Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter is listed as a producer; accordingly, the movie is full of itself and fun but nonessential.