It’s rare for a movie to have such great acting, writing, and visuals that it doesn’t need a very good director to make it a solid film, but that’s the case with The Rum Diary
. Based on a semiautobiographical novel written by razor-sharp gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in 1961, the film follows an oft-inebriated writer named Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp) on an odyssey to 1950s Puerto Rico, where he’s been hired by E.J. Lotterman (Richard Jenkins), the editor of a failing English-language newspaper, to write about casinos and bowling alleys for fat American tourists.
Of course, Kemp is a stand-in for Thompson. He mumbles through hyper-articulate observa...