The Rum Diary is a largely autobiographical novel written by Hunter S Thompson. The book has recently been turned into a film and follows the 22-year-old as a newspaper reporter in Puerto Rico the 1960s. The film paints a portrait of a young journalist called Kemp who travels to the country with an exaggerated resume to try and make it as a journalist. The book has been adapted for the screen by Johnny Depp who was a friend of Thompson
Richard Jenkins does a fantastic job of playing the editor of the paper that hires him. The comedy that he brings to the performance is excellent and his on-screen chemistry with Johnny Depp who plays Kemp is enjoyable to watch. Shortly after arriving in Puerto Rico, Kemp moves in with another reporter from the paper.
Sometime after this an American businessman called Sanderson notices Kemp and hires him to spin stories in the paper that benefit his business interests. This paints an interesting picture of corruption by the United States in Puerto Rico and is definitely one of the more compelling storylines in The Rum Diary. The way that the conflict between the poor local people and the rich American businessmen is portrayed is fascinating.
It is easy to see why Kemp is drawn to the wealth of Sanderson especially because his career at the Star is not enthralling him. Kemp is also rather taken in by the fiancé of Sanderson who is played by Amanda Heard.
The moral conflict that he has between the businessmen’s interests and is duty at the Star is interesting and something that he does not know how to deal with. By the end of the movie he finds his place and develops a distinct distrust of all authority.