Movies on my Mind: The Rum Diary

Bringing us back to the era of the ‘50s, “The Rum Diary” centers around the misadventures of Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp), as he tries to find his own voice so he can go back to writing novels.  

Getting away from the hectic lifestyle of New York,  Kemp traveks to Puerto Rico as a freelance writer for the San Juan Star local newspaper, which is on the verge of being shut down.   His editor, Lotterman (Richard Jenkins), believes in Kemp like he’s the last salvation in order for this paper to survive, but when the only assignments he can cover are tourist bios and the daily horoscope column. One cannot blame him for drinking a little too much.

Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart) notices Kemp and wishes to talk with him about a pretty substantial offer over lunch the next day.  Everywhere Sanderson goes on the island, he sees a money opportunity and he needs Kemp’s help to exploit his capitalistic enterprise.   

His goal is to wait for a military testing island to go on sale, undercut the islanders, and once he’s bought it, start building it into an ideal vacation spot of tourists and primarily the wealthy.

The rest of the film revolves around Kemp’s decision to help Sanderson exploit his scheme while at the same time flirting with Sanderson’s fiancé, Chenault (Amber Heard), and avoiding enraged locals.

Kemps biggest problem is his excessive rum-drinking habit.  I’m actually quite surprised that he is able to afford all these drinks, but it is a movie and he’s in good company with many people that never seem to be in short supply of alcohol.  

“The Rum Diary” was an okay film, but it’s on the top of my list of recommendations.

“The Rum Diary” is rated ‘R’ for language, brief drug use and sexuality.

Pros: Johnny Depp, fast cars, parties and a lust to travel to Puerto Rico.

Cons:  Movie dragged on a lot and it wasn’t clear where it was going to end.  

Hmm: I still don’t know entirely what happened at the end.  Also, I think the quote “Where’s the Rum gone” was slipped into the movie and reworded.  Yar!

Watch it:  If it’s still in theaters after this week, I recommend a matinee or waiting until it comes out to rent.