- Written by T. Rake
The "bastards" vs. "the ink." A defining meme throughout Hunter S. Thompson's literary corpus. In this blatantly Hollywood adoration of his book of the same name, the sense of how the story is told, Kemp's voice or even the tacked on shower scene all ring falsely shrill.
There is a grotesque exploration of human condition which is absent here amongst the lush production qualities, the vintage sports cars and flawless period touches. The dialog is lifeless and Depp's delivery is strangely normative and feels much like a tipsy Macaulay Culkin.
Kent, as a journalist, is situated between the ink and bastards but the dramatic impact of his quest is delivered like a limp sailor who can't pull into port. It tries to seduce you, but its forced airs betray the nature of the ritual all too quickly.
This movie made me want to read the book to see if HST could have written such a dozy of a piece of SHT. The cast seems disinterested and wholly unable to embrace a misanthropic exploration of lost ideals amidst salvation and truth. To be fair, there are fleeting moments in which HST's writing does shine forth.
Most distressingly, the soundtrack would certainly have raised the ire of HST for its blandness. Bad Caucasian jazz, poorly executed island music and unfortunate incidental music serve as fly in the ointment drawing further attention to this sad state of affairs. Not sure how music editors are hired, selected or whatever, but can we please stop and ask someone who likes music next time and provide the movie going public with some respite.
Puerto Rico has a lush history of jazz musicians who have made beautiful music for decades. Eddie Palmieri—just to bandy about one such soul. It is a distasteful injustice to endure unnecessary colonization of our ears.
I wonder if people who hated HST loved this one. For me, it was too much like Solo Casero!