Director: Bruce Robinson
Starring: Johnny Depp, Giovanni Ribisi, Aaron Eckhart
Run time: 120 mins
A mix of the surreal and the sublime, the rum dairy is another presentation of Johnny Depp’s ability to play the unusual, complicated and ultimately thought provoking character.
Depp acts with aplomb to portray the simulateously intellectual and wild character of Paul Kemp. Kemp is a binge drinking, nonchalant New York based journalist, who arrives in 1960’s Puerto Rico to take employment with a struggling US publication.
From the offset it is clear that Kemp is sharp minded, and intent on exposing US corporate influence in the area. Unfortunately Kemp’s crusade to fight the US corporations is thwarted by the impressively suave Sanderson, a shrewd businessman aiming to exploit the expansive Puerto Rican resources.
The film moves forward in a different direction with the introduction of Chenault, the charming and sultry wife of Sanderson, played by Amber Heard, who instantly captivates Kemp. She stands as the antithesis of her husband: outgoing and genuine, while her husband is ruthless and rigid.
In Bruce Robinson’s debut, the audience are offered a cocktail of the light-hearted, drunken adventures of Kemp and his friend Sala (Michael Rispoli), and the malevolent, debauch and corrupt underbelly of Puerto Rican society. Through brilliant scene presentation, he portrays the deep divide inherent within the territory, bringing the disharmony between the American elite and Puerto Rican poor to the forefront.
However, one is left wishing for more, as Robinson fails to integrate one scene to the next causing the film to be disjointed and at times confusing.
In summary, Depp’s first production was an honest and passionate attempt at the semi-autobiographical unpublished work of Hunter S. Thompson. It’s redeeming feature is Depp’s acting performance, which is, as always, brilliantly unconventional. Unfortunately, it is a film which promises a lot, but delivers little.