Johnny Depp loses his mind in Rum Diary

Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

Johnny Depp is Paul Kemp

While people may know Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie franchise, in “The Rum Diary” Depp stars as Paul Kemp, a struggling novelist turned journalist, who suffers from alcoholism.

The trailers and advertisements for “The Rum Diary” make the movie out to be a mind-bending comedy.  This however, is false advertising.  The comedy, while hilarious, was limited to a few off scenes to keep the viewers attention in between Kemp’s various life-affirming scenes.

Premise of The Rum Diary

The majority of the movie is bent around this idea of right and wrong in journalism.  The question “The Rum Diary” asks is, do journalists write for the people, or for the people that run the country and those that are out to take all they can from the people?  As Depp’s character Paul evolves during his explorations of the annexed Puerto Rico, he comes to see the greed and disparity that big business pushes on the small people who just want to live life.

The mind-bending scene, while very trippy and explorative, depicts the medicinal exploration of the 70s era. The scene lacks sufficient comedy and instead verges on the self-questioning motivations of humanity. “The Rum Diary” takes a serious look at the manipulation of the poor and the risks rich people take to become richer.

“This is where we buy el monstro?” Moburb (Giovanni Ribisi, left) “Yes.” Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp, middle)

Questioning the morality of human greed

“The Rum Diary” has many valuable moral questions regarding what big businesses should or should not be allowed to do, and questions the motivations of money grabbing, land snatching snobs who seek to convert the natural beauty of the world into elitist get-a-ways for other such snobs.

The depth of the film’s meaning is negated in many ways by the comedic relief.  The back and forth between comedy and drama draws away from the issues the movie presents to the viewer.

On a five star scale, this movie probably rates about three stars. It is entertaining, funny, has depth, but the whole of the movie was not put together in any consistent way and much of the comedy becomes somber, and the depth becomes comic, losing its meaning.


  1. Boasts a highly impressive cast and contains some great touches, but it’s too long by a half hour and meanders severely in its second half. Nice review.

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