Just got back from seeing Rum Diary, a movie based on the novel that Hunter S. Thompson wrote in the early 60s; the novel was published in the late 90s, and the movie just came out (though seems to have a limited airing). The novel, inspired by Thompson’s journalistic experiences at a dying sports newspaper in Puerto Rico, and his time with some writers at the San Juan Star, has the same wild and raw feel that Thompson is known for.
Johnny Depp starred as Paul Kemp, and Michael Rispoli as his sidekick Sala. Drunken master of mind Richard Jenkins played Lotterman–I really loved this role. I thought the movie started a bit slow, but soon I was immersed into the jungle, the booze, the witty one-liners–all that, and the main characters are twisted but mindful of the importance of living. It’s not money that makes their world go round. They live for the experience, and they care about the street people who are starving more than the corporate corrupters who want to ruin an island with development: the playground of the rich. Kemp would rather not see the land and people corrupted. He quotes Oscar Wilde:
Nowadays, people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Kemp also says while on mesc looking at a tank lobster:
Human beings are the only creatures on earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn’t got one.
The style also reminded me quite a bit of Infernal Drums by Anthony Wright, a not yet widely known treasure of a novel set in Mexico.