Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Devouring Films: The Rum Diary
Anyway, so the point is that I wasn't exactly expecting great things from The Rum Diary, but I wanted to watch it anyway because Johnnnnnnny! and, well, I was actually pleasantly surprised. I wouldn't exactly describe it as a perfect film, because it wasn't that, but it had its moments of fun and silliness and also a bit of seriousness, and it was extremely clear that everyone involved in making it was having an outrageously good time. And, well, you know what, I like to see Johnny clearly having a good time, and it's way preferable to his 'I'm being paid quite a lot of money for this so I'm going to just go through the motions' time (The Tourist. Seriously)
So, the film. Well, it's a bit... sort of scattered and mad, but not in an entirely unpleasant way. It wasn't as wonderfully mad as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (because nobody, but nobody, does that kind of crazy like Terry Gilliam) and so felt a bit unfocused and not quite sure if it wanted to go that far, or to retreat back a bit into the land of normal things, so there is a sense in which you're not sure what you're going to get from one scene to the next. I don't know if this is something that's symptomatic of the novel as well though (I tried to read it once, but I'm not sure if Hunter S Thompson is really my bag. Nonetheless, I will give it another try, and I'm reading Fear and Loathing this year for sure because I'm challengely obligated to) although if so, is that even a reason to excuse it? I just don't know!
Obviously this is entirely a Johnny Depp vehicle since I'm fairly sure he's the entire reason it was made, and because, you know, he's literally in every scene because I believe the book is basically a first person narrative- a young guy's journey through the crazy world of journalism. And he's really great in it. I mean, I basically say that about everything he's in, but like I say, here he's really relishing every moment, having a rollicking good time that he maybe hasn't been so obviously having since the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie (which was like the formative moment of my Johnny Depp loving/maybe even movie loving life) and, well, who wouldn't want to watch that? Moving on from Depp for juuust a moment, the guy who played Phoebe's brother in Friends is really really great as this basically insane alcoholic/whatever else he can get his hands on-aholic, and kind of truly creepy and hilarious at the same time. And Aaron Eckhart was also there, and he was ok- I kind of liked his character (and by liked, I obviously mean hated) more than I liked the way he played it, but that's ok. Still a good bad character!
Basically, I don't want to try and make The Rum Diary out to be any more than what it is, but what it happens to be is a really fun romp that, to be honest, doesn't try to be any more than what it is. And I'm ok with that, even if I still believe that there has to be this perfect combination of Depp-director-screenwriter that could make the absolute greatest film that the world has ever seen. But until that happens, I'm good with more films like this. I'll allow them to happen.